UK's Prince William and Kate to visit Bhutan in spring

Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate leave after attending the Christmas Day service at church in Sandringham, eastern England.
Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate leave after attending the Christmas Day service at church in Sandringham, eastern England.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate are to visit the South Asian kingdom of Bhutan in the spring as part of an official trip that also takes in India, royal officials announced on Friday.

It will be couple's first visit to the remote Himalayan kingdom, and it is unclear whether they will be accompanied by their children, two-year-old Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who was born in May last year.

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will make an official visit to Bhutan this spring," a statement from their Kensington Palace residence said, using their official titles.

"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."

Prince William's brother Prince Harry will visit the Himalayan country of Nepal in the spring, the palace announced.

Bhutan, known as the "last Shangri-La", home to just 750,000 people, famously shuns conventional measures of economic wellbeing, instead compiling a Gross National Happiness index.

The popular 35-year-old King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, formally known as the Druk Gyalpo or Dragon King, and his wife Queen Jetsun Pema are expecting their first child, a son.

Like Prince William and Kate, the couple married in 2011 in a ceremony that was a huge media event.

The first plans for Prince William and Kate's trip to Asia were announced during a visit to Britain by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November.