Cambridges to meet Bhutan's 'William and Kate'
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to meet Bhutan's glamorous King and Queen when they travel to the mountainous kingdom this spring.
King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema have attracted the attention of royal watchers across the globe since their marriage in 2011, and even been compared to William and Kate.
They appear equally at ease with the traditions of their homeland and with western influences and are fast becoming the face of a modern progressive monarchy.
When their engagement was announced Bhutan's head of state described his wife, who is the daughter of a pilot, as a "kind hearted girl who is very supportive and whom I can trust. I don't know what my people will say about her, but I find her complete with all the qualities a woman needs to have."
Kensington Palace said about the Cambridges' tour: "The visit is being carried out at the request of Her Majesty's Government and will be the first time their Royal Highnesses have visited the country."
It also announced that Prince Harry would travel to Nepal this spring, a first for the royal who has wanted to visit the country largely due to his admiration and respect for the Gurkha troops he served with in Afghanistan.
He is also keen to see how the country's rebuilding effort is progressing following the devastating earthquake in April last year.
The Cambridges' visit to Bhutan will form part of a trip to Asia that will also seem them tour India.
Bhutan is overshadowed by Himalayan peaks and for much of the 20th century the landlocked country was isolated from the world preserving much of its Buddhist traditions, landscape and wildlife.
The capital Thimphu does not have traffic lights but white-gloved officers directing vehicles and television was only introduced in the late 1990s.
The kingdom's head of state succeeded his father Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 2006 after his abdication.
The change of leadership was part of a democratising process and two years later the first parliamentary elections were held.
The Oxford-educated King's wife also studied at a British university and is expecting their first child early this year.
A few weeks after the King and Queen wed in October 2011 they visited London and met the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at their London home Clarence House.