THIMPHU Britain's Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan on Thursday, meeting its glamorous young royal couple for the first time and trying their hands at a national dart-throwing sport.
A procession of traditional musicians and dancers led the British royals into the Thimphu Dzong, an ancient Buddhist monastery and fortress that overlooks the capital of the nation of less than a million people.
Bhutan's fifth king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, and Queen Jetsun Pema received the British royals for a 45-minute private audience.
The 25-year-old queen, born a commoner, as Kate was, is viewed as a style icon across much of Asia. Both couples have started families, with Jetsun Pema giving birth to her first son, the crown prince, this February.
"Two of the best royal couples in the world are meeting, so I think it is pretty exciting," Tsering Pem, a resident of the capital, said of the visit.
William and Kate later wielded a bow and arrow at the Changlimithang Archery Ground and attempted the traditional game of Khuru, in which players throw large darts at a target about 10 meters (yards) away.
Neither managed to score a hit, but they made light of their poor aim in blustery weather that at times ruffled Kate's outfit.
Kate wore a patterned cape from Paul & Joe over a purple wraparound skirt of Bhutanese cloth that blended with the traditional style of guests at the sporting show. William wore a navy blue suit and dark red tie.
During their two-day stay the British royals, who have been touring India, will trek to the Tiger's Nest, an ancient monastery perched 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) up a mountain.
William's father, Prince Charles, failed to complete the steep ascent to the Tiger's Nest during a visit in 1998, opting instead to paint a watercolor of the scene.
Their week-long tour ends back in India on Saturday at the Taj Mahal, revisiting the scene of a solo - and much photographed - visit in 1992 by the late Princess Diana.
(Additional reporting by Cathal McNaughton; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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First Published On : Apr 14, 2016 18:10 IST