Today Kate and William were able to spend time enjoying Bhutan’s breathtaking scenery as they hiked to the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery high in the Himalayas.
The two started off on a clear, cool morning. More from the BBC:
They took time to soak up the panoramic views surrounding the 17th century monastery, formally known as Paro Taktsang, during a three-hour walk.
Situated about 10,000ft (3,000m) above sea level and on a cliff face, the monastery is considered to be one of the holiest for the Bhutanese people.
This photo of the iconic monastery is from 2011.
We have a treat today, first-hand perspective from a WKW friend who knows exactly how challenging the hike can be. Brooke, a WKW friend, made the trek with her husband in April of 2014. Brooke described what the terrain is like and shared the 2 photos directly below her quotes.
It’s an imposing feat from the bottom. The trail itself is dusty and dry, with short flat stretches between hikes up rocky, steep ledges to ascend the mountain.
Our guides told us stories of men who complete the hike every day, and experts who climb in less than an hour. All Bhutanese men make the trek in their Gho (traditional Bhutanese dress), and combined with the gentle nature of the Bhutanese, it makes for a very beautiful, dignified and spiritual experience for such rough terrain and such a long journey.
Kate and William approach the halfway point of the climb in this photo from Victoria Murphy of The Mirror.
When they reached the halfway point after around 45 minutes of steep trekking in the thin mountain air, the Duke was showing signs of the effort and looked a little sunburnt around his eyes.
“So far so good,” laughed the Duke as he spoke to members of the media waiting at the halfway viewpoint.
From a NY Times story:
Halfway up, the prince told reporters the view was “absolutely stunning.”
Horses were kept at the ready in case the royals became tired, but they did not use them.
Brooke said that “But after tea and biscuits at the halfway cafe, and with the view of the monastery getting closer, the second half is easier than the first.”
William is not the first family member to start the climb; in 1998 Prince Charles went halfway up the mountain. Many readers have probably seen the photos of Charles working on a watercolor at the halfway point. If I’m not mistaken the Prince encountered issues with vertigo, making an effort at the full trip unwise.
Back to today’s climb.
Her husband quickly broke into a sweat, but the Duchess of Cambridge stayed fresh as a daisy as she tackled a lung-busting trek to a Himalayan monastery.
Despite choosing to wear a leather jerkin and calf-length leather boots for the arduous, rocky climb, the Duchess looked as though she had been for nothing more than a stroll in the garden as she reached the Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan, which clings to a cliff 10,000ft up.
A quick ITV video.
— ITV News (@itvnews) April 15, 2016
“The royal couple climbed very fast,” Bhutan’s information secretary, Kinley Dorji, told the Associated Press.
An interesting note from Brooke:
From the final lookout across the valley to the monastery, there are long strings of flags seemingly impossibly strung up across the valley and high up from the mountains. Our guide told us there were some very skilled archers at work with getting these into place.
A look at the details.
Kate wore her Really Wild Clothing olive green Nubuck Waistcoat. The piece is olive green leather with a three-button front, deep pockets and an adjustable waist. Although shown on the website as ‘sold out,’ the piece can be special ordered. The waistcoat is £495, roughly $700.
We have not identified Kate’s jeans but hope to work on that after we get this post up.
The Duchess elected to do the hike in her Penelope Chilvers boots. This choice prompted a little online chatter, with some thinking the boots would be too stiff, without enough ‘give’ (that’s my word). But they look fairly supple and seem to have worked well for Kate. More from Emma Spedding’s story in The Telegraph:
It’s perhaps surprising given the difficult climb and the heat, that the Duchess chose to wear knee-high boots rather than hiking shoes such as the £106 Hillmaster boots she wore when she visited Borneo’s jungle, but Chilvers says that her boots are designed for adventures.
The boots are shown as being available in only two sizes on the Penelope Chilvers website, but this is a staple product for the company and I imagine they will be restocked.
We saw Kate’s Citrine Drop earrings by Kiki McDonough again.
As well as her Ray-Ban sunglasses.
This is raw video with William and Kate speaking about the climb. (And how much they’re missing George and Charlotte as well.)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge went on a six-hour trek in Bhutan – but he says it was “a little bit cheeky” https://t.co/ddRBbTdeJn
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 15, 2016
A whimsical side note, Simon Perry of People magazine mentioned that William and Kate made a few purchases at a trinket shop after the hike was completed. He Instagrammed a picture of a pair of earrings Kate bought, like those shown below in dark blue for about $7; if we ever see her wearing them we’ll know their origins. (Although we’ve no idea if they are a gift or if she plans to wear them.)
Back in Thimphu this evening Kate and William hosted a reception celebrating Britain’s relationship with Bhutan, and the Duchess engaged in more sartorial diplomacy.
The Himalayan blue poppy is Bhutan’s national flower, and Kate’s gown was splashed with an abstract poppy print.
The gown is from another favorite Kate label, Beulah London.
It is the brand’s Juliet style, originally part of last spring’s collection.
The silk chiffon gown features a fully lined bodice and skirt, sheer long sleeves, a front vee-neck neckline and a thigh-high slit. It is now available on the website and priced at £745, about $1060.
In addition to the dress there is also a scarf in this print, the ‘Petal – Flower Spirits Red’ silk chiffon scarf.
The scarf measures 120 x 120cm/47″ x 47″ and retails for £175, about $250.
Kate wore her Cassandra Goad Temple of Heaven earrings.
We have a quick update on Kate’s spiral earrings worn when arriving in Bhutan Thursday morning, and again for last night’s private dinner with the King and Queen of Bhutan. It turns out they are by Scottish brand Brora, the retailer’s Gold Charm Earrings style.
The earrings are 22k gold plated brass with gold plated sterling silver hooks. Brora is taking preorders now, the earrings retail for £39, about $55. Our thanks to a HRH Duchess Kate blog reader who let Charlotte know the origins of the earrings.
- Visit the Tiger’s Nest Monastery website here;
- The Daily Mail’s photo-laden story is here; Richard Palmer’s story in The Express is here; The Telegraph’s coverage is here; Emma Spedding’s story about Kate’s wardrobe today is here
- People magazine’s story is here; ABC’s Bhutan slide show is here
- This link takes you to a slide show The Express has put together with more than 100 pictures of senior royals on tours all over the world.