Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Swedish State Visit to Bhutan

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia during their State Visit to Bhutan

The King and Queen of Sweden are coming to the end of their State Visit to Bhutan - an historic trip as its the first from their country to the mountain kingdom. Carl Gustaf and Silvia might not have got as much attention as William and Kate when they visited in April but they have packed plenty into their three day visit. While day one was all about ceremonial welcomes, the later parts of the visit have touched on business, culture and art.

Food tasting for Sweden's royals on day two of their State Visit to Bhutan

Day two of this visit got underway with a Sweden Bhutan co-operation forum to swap ideas on business and promote links between companies from the two countries. It included speeches by both the Swedish and Bhutanese Prime Ministers as well as demonstrations and a bit of food tasting. Then it was time for a visit to the Thimpus Royal Textile Museum which helps preserve traditional textile making techniques as well as looking after artefacts and promoting craft.

The King and Queen of Sweden during their visit to the Textile Museum on day two of the State Visit

The fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, the father of the present King, hosted lunch for the royal visitors on day two and their afternoon included a visit to the Kuensel Phodrang natural park where they saw one of the world's largest Buddha statues. The evening included a reception at the Swedish Amankora Hotel just outside Bhutan's capital, Thimpu.

King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia on day three of their State visit to Bhutan when they visited religious sites

Day three centred on spirituality. The royal couple started at the Wolakha convent near Punakha where they heard about education programmes being developed in the area so that the nuns can help local women take better care of their reproductive health.  King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia also took part in a lighting ceremony in the temple.

The Swedish royal couple at Punakha Dzong

There was another lighting ceremony for the royal visitors as they reached Punakha Dzong in the former Bhutanese capital of Punakha.  The met the monks there and toured some of the most famous cultural sites in the area.

The King of Sweden at Bjara Village

The afternoon included a visit to a traditional village, Bjara, to hear all about irrigation and water projects in the area.  The evening ended with a dinner given by the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay. The State Visit ended on June 11th.

You can read all about State Visits in June here.

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