King and Queen of Bhutan dubbed the ‘Prince William and Kate Middleton of the Himalayas’ paid their respects to Her Majesty and joined world leaders for the ‘reception of the century’ at Buckingham Palace
- King Jigme Khesar and Queen Jetsun Pema are in London for the state funeral
- The couple paid their respects to Her Majesty as she was lying-in-state
- Also joined King Charles for the ‘reception of the century’ at Buckingham Palace
- The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage
The King and Queen of Bhutan last night paid tribute to the Queen while she was lying-in-state at Westminster Hall.
King Jigme Khesar and Queen Jetsun Pema, dubbed the ‘Prince William and Kate Middleton of the Himalayas’, made the journey to London ahead of the state funeral today.
They were photographed paying their respects at the Palace of Westminster, stopping to bow their heads and hold their hands in prayer.
The couple joined hundreds of monarchs, prime ministers, presidents and other foreign dignitaries last night for a reception hosted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.
The King and Queen of Bhutan last night paid tribute to the Queen as she lied-in-state at Westminster Hall
King Jigme Khesar and Queen Jetsun Pema, dubbed the ‘Prince William and Kate Middleton of the Himalayas’, made the journey to London ahead of the state funeral today
The couple arrived at the Buckingham Palace reception behind Queen Maxima and Princess Beatrice of the Netherlands, and Emperor Naruhito of Japan (right)
The Bhutanese royal couple pose for the media after their wedding ceremony on 13 October 2011
King Jigme, the hugely popular fifth Druk Gyalpo, studied in the UK and the US and ascended the throne in 2006, aged just 26 after his own father abdicated.
Unlike his son, who plans to have a monogamous marriage, the former King, who introduced democracy to Bhutan during his reign, has four wives, all sisters who he married on the same day.
But despite his own upbringing, the current monarch has made clear that he only plans to have one wife, whom he married on October 13, 2011, when she was still an international relations student at Regent’s College in London.
The match made headlines at the time because the young King was more openly affectionate with his wife than citizens were used to – leaving the couple to be called ‘the William and Kate of the Himalayas’.
The Bhutanese King and Queen married in 2011 – the same year that Prince William and Kate were wed – and have since welcomed two sons.
However, the King’s very public displays of affection – which included kissing his wife on the cheek and holding her hand – was well-received by young people, with many even choosing to follow the royals’ example.
US President Joe Biden (right) accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden (middle) are welcomed by Master of the Household Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt (left) as they arrive at Buckingham Palace for a State Reception in honour of the late Queen
President Emmanuel Macron (right) and his wife Brigitte (left) arrive for the glittering state reception which will take place in the picture gallery and state apartments and include drinks and canapes
The couple have an unusually close family, with the King’s sister and brother married to the Queen’s brother and sister.
The Queen’s older sister Yeatso Lhamo is married to the King’s brother Prince Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
During one of the largest gatherings of world leaders seen in recent years the newly crowned Monarch and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, greeted the likes of US President Joe Biden and wife Jill as well as President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, for a glittering but sombre event.
Such a reception involving world leaders and British royals has not seen since the death of Queen Elizabeth II’s father George VI in 1952, more than 70 years ago.
Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan (left) is pictured coming out of a car on the steps of Buckingham Palace dressed in a black as the Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan (right) also makes his way up the steps
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, and her husband Heiko also arrive
Queen Letizia of Spain joins her husband King Felipe VI as they arrive separately to former King and Queen Consort of Spain, Juan Carlos and Sofia
More recently, but not on such a grand scale, the now late Queen attended the G7 in Cornwall where she met and took part in pictures with the G7 leaders.
President of Ireland Michael D Higgins was seen being dropped off from a coach along with the former King and Queen Consort of Spain, Juan Carlos and Sofia and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, before the British royal couple met hundreds of dignitaries, including New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau.
The Prince and Princess of Wales and other working members of the royal family including the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester joined Charles and the Queen Consort in mingling with guests including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and the Kings and Queens from Holland, Norway and Sweden.
Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, who was Elizabeth II’s fourth cousin, and Queen Silvia head into the palace
Many dignitaries had already been viewing the Queen’s coffin in the ancient heart of Parliament after being given a VIP timeslot as ordinary mourners who have queued through the night pay their respects with leaders of the free world.
The Prime Minister Liz Truss and Government ministers including Jacob Rees-Mogg and James Cleverly were also spotted heading towards tonight’s glittering state reception which took place in the picture gallery and state apartments and featured drinks and canapes.
Many have also compared the state funeral of the Queen, which will see 1,000s world leaders attend, to Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in 2013 in South Africa which had to take place in a stadium due to the huge amount of world mourners.
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