As we move to the Bhutanese portion of the Royal Tour, the attention shifts from the gorgeous scenery and habitats of the Kaziranga National Forest to the upcoming meeting between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the King and Queen of Bhutan. The reason for all this press excitement? The young Queen, dubbed the “Kate Middleton of the Himalayas”.
Who is this Queen Jetsun, and why is she being compared to the Duchess of Cambridge? Much of the comparison comes from the surface similarities in their stunning beauty, but also in her modest and elegant demeanour.
Beyond initial appearances, Queen Jetsun and Kate also share the fact that they are both commoners, have athletic tendencies and studied Art History in University.
Much like Kate, Queen Jetsun has shunned big city life and royal tradition to live in the country. This is just one example of how both women are seeming to be doing their best to live a normal life when thrust into the extraordinary circumstances and lives of the men they married. Queen Jetsun gave birth to a baby boy recently, surely giving the Duchess and herself a popular conversation topic!
There are several differences to point out though – one being the customs of Bhutan which were surprising for many Westerners and how Queen Jetsun changed them. The woman formerly known as Jetsun Pema, for example, so captivated King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan that he declared he would not take multiple wives (a reality in Bhutan) and vowed that she was the only woman he would ever marry.
Queen Jetsun also shunned an exotic honeymoon in favour of a walking tour to meet the people of Bhutan. I just can’t picture Will and Kate physically walking across the UK to meet people, but that goes to illustrate that despite similarities, there are stark differences in their realities.
What will be great is for the opportunity for these two young royals – one Queen and one future Queen – to meet and build a relationship that will surely last far into the future.