Royal visit: At the invitation of His Majesty The King, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, His Royal Highness Prince William and Kate Middleton arrive today for a two-day visit.
Her Royal Highness Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck will receive Their Royal Highnesses at Paro airport.
They will be welcomed with a Chipdrel traditional ceremonial procession at Tashichhodzong where Their Royal Highnesses will receive an audience with His Majesty The King.
The Royal Couple will also witness traditional games at Changlimithang later today.
His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen will also host a private dinner in Their honour at the Lingkana Palace.
The two Royal Families represent the past, the present and also the future as both the Royal Couples are parents.
“That’s the continuity and for Bhutan that continuity means survival into the future,” information and communications secretary, Dasho Kinley Dorji said. “The Royal Families are the most powerful ambassadors of the country,” he added. “Even culturally they become the proponents of cultural identity.”
“Both the Royal Couples are charismatic well known figures around the world,” Dasho Kinley Dorji said. “For Bhutan the story of the Royal visit transcends all the glamour.”
“As new parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will no doubt be very happy to meet another new baby HRH The Gyalsey,” the British Honorary Consul, Michael Rutland said.
“The Royal Couples will have a great deal to talk about ranging from parenthood to the environment,” he said.
“The Royal Couples have the great gift of being able to interact warmly and sympathetically with their peoples,” he added.
“The Duchess is concerned with the welfare of children with both mental and physical disabilities and will be delighted to meet children from the Draktsho Centre and Ability Bhutan Society,” Michael Rutland also said. “She is the patron of a charity called Place2Be, which provides counselling services to young people with problems.”
Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen is the patron of Ability Bhutan Society and shares the same concerns and is actively engaged in other charity and conservation works.
While His Majesty The King travels to every nook and corner of the country to improve the welfare of the citizens, the Duke of Cambridge Prince William is a search and rescue pilot who saves lives.
Both the Royal Families have been strong proponents of the environment as well.
Bhutan’s constitutional monarchy system shares the same structural format as the British Westminster democracy.
More than 70 foreign media, the majority of them from the United Kingdom, are accompanying the Royal Couple.
The visit is expected to help tourism in Bhutan with publicity for the country as a holiday destination and add to the international image of the country.
The visit is also expected to have a positive effect on the image of the country on the official and diplomatic levels.
“It will, we hope, form the beginning of a personal friendship between the present King and Queen of Bhutan and the future King and Queen of the United Kingdom,” Michael Rutland said.
The visit also cements a long-running relationship between the two countries and the Royal Families.
A long relationship
The connection between the Royal Families of the two countries began with the awarding of the Knight Commander of the Indian Empire to the first King of Bhutan, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck and the Knight Commander of the Star of India to His Majesty the second King of Bhutan, Jigme Wangchuck.
The awards were high marks of recognition and respect from the United Kingdom to Bhutan in the person of Their Majesties, said Michael Rutland. “It represented the excellent relationship between the two kingdoms after the creation of monarchy in Bhutan,” he added.
That relationship continued with frequent visits by British Royal Family members to Bhutan.
The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles visited Bhutan in 1998 and walked halfway up to the Tiger’s nest, Taktshang. His son and wife will walk all the way to the monastery.
Princess Michael of Kent visited Bhutan on a private holiday, and Prince Andrew the Duke of York visited the country in 2010 at the invitation of the His Majesty The King.
His Majesty The King and The Gyaltsuen visited HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall three years ago and took tea with them in Clarence House.
His Majesty The King then invited Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge to visit Bhutan.
His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo studied for a year at a school in the United Kingdom.
His Majesty The King studied three years at Magdalen College, University of Oxford.
HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck graduated from St Peter’s College Oxford University and HRH Prince Khamsum Singye Wangchuck graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England.
The third King spent a short time in Scotland for informal studies.
The British High Commissioner to India Sir Dominic Asquith and other senior officials of the British High Commission in New Delhi are accompanying Their Royal Highnesses.