Friday was an early start for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, as they set off on a challenging trek in Bhutan. The couple, who enjoyed a private dinner with the king and queen the night before, looked refreshed and in high spirits as they began their hike to the Tiger's Nest monastery.
William and Kate were no doubt excited to be trekking to the remote spiritual site and didn't seem put off by the five to six-hour hike ahead of them. The Duchess even joked that it was "a great way to burn off the curry."
"Wow! That's amazing," said Kate, as they reached a viewpoint overlooking the ancient monastery.
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William and Kate hardly broke a sweat during the six-hour hike
The site is perched 3,000 metres up a mountain. When William's father Prince Charles visited Bhutan in 1988, he made the same ascent, but only reaching the halfway point where he stopped to paint a watercolour scene of the Tiger's Nest.
Sporty William and Kate looked enthused by the challenge and the opportunity to take in some of the most stunning views. Even in her casual clothes the Duchess managed to maintain her sense of style wearing jeans, a white shirt, waistcoat and riding boots.
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"Halfway, let's do it, let's go on," said William
"It's amazing, so beautiful," said Kate, adding that the view was "very special".
As they completed the final 1,000 downhill steps and crossed a bridge to the monastery, the royals were met by the sounds of cymbals, trumpets, bells and monks chanting.
"It is very good for Kate and William to come here," said Sonam Penjor, 34, who works in the Bhutan information department. "Prince Charles took some nice shots but he was not able to come to this point. Maybe the altitude affected him.
"I think his son and daughter-in-law wanted to beat him! They wanted to recapture his father's memories but go further. And maybe later George and Charlotte will come to follow in their parents' footsteps."
Kate joked that the trek was "a great way to burn off the curry"
Despite completing the challenge, William, who was a little more flushed than his wife, did admit "it was quite tough on the way up". At the halfway point he and Kate stopped to chat to a local monk.
"Halfway, let's do it, let's go on," said William afterwards, wiping sweat off his brow. "So far, so good."
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The couple were also met by director of the national museum, Phuntesho Tashi, who span a series of prayer wheels, which in Buddhism helps to absolve sin.
The couple took in the stunning Bhutanese view
William and Kate encountered fellow trekkers during their journey. The royals stopped to chat to a trio from San Francisco, remarking how beautiful the weather was compared to Thursday.
"They were pretty altogether," said Lauren McKennan. "There wasn't a single trail of sweat. They stopped to talk to us for three to five minutes and were absolutely charming."
Alex Willmore added: "They asked us how long we had been here and talked about how lovely the weather was.We asked for a photograph they just laughed and wouldn't do it. But they were absolutely charming, very cool, very nice. They kept on saying how beautiful it was."
The Duke and Duchess were "thrilled" to be visiting the "magical place"
The spiritual site, which dates back to 1692, is located close to the cave where Guru Padmasambhava – who is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan – is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks and three days in the eighth century.
A Kensington Palace spokesperson previously said that the Duke and Duchess were "thrilled" to be visiting the "magical place" that will allow them to get a real sense of the natural and spiritual beauty of Bhutan.
Later on Friday, William and Kate will return back to Thimphu, the country's capital city, where they will attend a reception for British nationals in Bhutan and Bhutanese people with strong links to the UK.