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Once-isolated Bhutan welcomes duke and duchess

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his wife Queen Jetsun Pema Image copyright PA

The descent into Paro by plane, which has to navigate a mountainside, is not for the faint-hearted.

William and Kate are entering a once-isolated land.

Tourists could only visit from the 1970s; TV was introduced in the 1990s; and this former absolute monarchy became a constitutional one with an elected government in 2008.

Bhutan is a Buddhist country with an emphasis on gross national happiness rather than its gross domestic product.

However, the country's prime minister has acknowledged that this much-lauded concept can be overused, and can mask the kingdom's problems with debt, unemployment and poverty.

For two days the Cambridges will be guests of a young king and queen that are held in high regard by its subjects.

They'll learn how Bhutan - which once revelled in its remoteness - is now facing the challenge of how to retain its Buddhist traditions while also embracing the modern world.