The King and Queen of Bhutan have released the first official picture of their baby son who was born last Friday.
In an image posted to Facebook, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 35, and Queen Jetsun Pema, 25, can be seen gazing adoringly at the new arrival who is swaddled in a vibrant yellow blanket as they sit in the grounds of Lingkana Palace in the Bhtanese capital Thimphu.
But it was the King’s father, who is known as His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, who was given the honour of holding the new baby as he was officially introduced to the world.
The former King of Bhutan cradled the baby – whose name has not yet been announced – in the crook of his right arm, while placing an affectionate hand around his daughter-in-law’s shoulder.
King Jigme Singye Wangchuk abdicated in 2006 in order for his son to take over and pave the way for democracy and a constitutional monarchy.
The photo came with a statement from the royal media office, saying: ‘Bhutanese families spent a wonderful Losar today, celebrating the day with family and loved ones.
‘To make the day even more special, we have the honour of bringing to you the very first official photograph of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey.’
The Gyalsey is a Buddhist word for Prince, meaning ‘son of the victorious ones’, and Bhutan is currently celebrating the 15-day festival of Losar or Tibetan New Year.
‘In this delightful Losar Kupar from Lingkana Palace, His Royal Highness The Gyalsey is surrounded by His Majesty The King, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen,’ the statement continued.
‘His Royal Highness The Gyalsey was born on the 5th of February 2016, and is the first Royal Child of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen.’
The new arrival marks the beginning of an exciting year for the Bhutan Royals, who have been dubbed the ‘William and Kate of the Orient’.
They are set to host the real Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on an official visit on behalf of the British Government.
Their hugely-anticipated visit will coincide with the couple’s previously announced tour of India and is likely to take place in April.
It’s not yet known whether William and Kate will meet the newest member of the family, who was safely delivered at Lingkana Palace on February 5, according to the royal media office.
‘Their majesties and members of the royal family are filled with profound joy on the birth of His Royal Highness,’ they said in a statement.
‘With the blessings of the guardian deities of Bhutan and protectors of the dharma (divine truth), and the prayers of the Bhutanese people, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness The Gyalsey (prince) are both in perfect health.’
The prince’s birth was marked by sacred Bhutanese traditions with the Je Khenpo, the chief abbot and spiritual leader of the majority Buddhist nation, presiding over religious ceremonies, the office said.
Known as the ‘last Shangri-La’, the South Asian kingdom, home to just 750,000 people, famously shuns conventional measures of economic wellbeing, instead compiling a Gross National Happiness index.
The hugely popular fifth Druk Gyalpo, or ‘Dragon King’, studied in Britain and the United States, and was officially crowned King in 2008 after his father abdicated two years earlier.
He married Queen Pema in 2011 in an elaborate fairytale wedding ceremony that was the biggest media event in Bhutanese history.
Bhutan had no roads or currency until the 1960s, and only began admitting foreign tourists in 1974 — but the country has since developed rapidly.