The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left India today morning to travel to Bhutan, the second country on their itinerary during their week long tour of Southern Asia. This leg of the tour has been much anticipated by royal watchers, who were eager to see William and Catherine meet the Dragon King and Queen of Bhutan, a young royal couple much like the Cambridges themselves.
The day’s excitement began in the royal jet itself. Bhutan’s Paro Airport has one of the world’s most challenging landings, and the Duke and Duchess are believed to have watched the plane’s descent from the cockpit. Upon their arrival, they were greeted by the King’s older sister, Princess Chimi, and her husband, who traveled with them to Thimpu. Dozens of school-children lined the roads from the airport to the capital, holding scarves as a welcoming gesture.
In Thimpu, William and Catherine met King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his wife Queen Jetsun Pema at the Tashichho Dzong fortress. Bhutan’s King and Queen are around the same as the the Duke and Duchess, and recently welcomed their first son and heir to the throne. In honour of the Prince’s birth in February, 108,000 trees were planted in Bhutan, a country which is considered the happiest place in the world.
As the four royals walked across the courtyard, the Duchess and the Queen appeared to be deeply immersed in conversation. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were then blessed in a Buddhist temple, and lit lamps to ensure their visit was a safe and happy one.
After a quick cup of tea, William and Catherine tried their hands at archery, Bhutan’s national sport. At the open-air archery range, the royal couple took turns to fire arrows at a target around 40 metres away, resulting in a string of funny expressions and laughter from the gathered audience.
The Duke and Duchess also tried ‘Khuru’, a sport that is similar to darts, that was developed by cow herders, who used darts made out of branches and bird feathers. The pair, who previously displayed their sporty side during an engagement in Mumbai, appeared to enjoy themselves immensely.
In the evening, the Duke and Duchess left their hotel to attend a private dinner hosted by the King and Queen. Tomorrow morning, they will continue to enjoy the hospitality of Their Majesties, and will trek up a mountain to visit the Tiger’s Nest monastery, a three hundred year old structure that was built at an altitude of 3,000m.