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Sunday, 6 January, 2002, 08:30 GMT
Murder most royal
Murder Most Royal
Crown Prince Dipendra was forbidden to marry his lover
In June last year, Nepal's crown prince massacred his entire family in their royal palace. A television programme being screened on Sunday on BBC Two at 2100 GMT reveals how forbidden love and political frustration drove Crown Prince Dipendra to murder.

Interviews with massacre survivors, royal cousins, courtiers and friends allow viewers a new insight into the secretive Nepalese royal family and dismiss conspiracy theories that the crown prince was not the murderer.

All his life he had always got what he wanted - nobody would say no to a crown prince

Gorahk Rana
Dipendra's brother-in-law
In an emotional interview, Princess Ketaki, Dipendra's aunt, who was present at the massacre, reveals that the crown prince's attack was premeditated and not, as some reports suggested at the time, the result of him taking a combination of drink and drugs.

She tells how the crown prince looked before he shot his father, King Birendra:

"He looked exactly like the Terminator, absolutely expressionless and very focused, and that look still haunts me.

"He was out there spraying bullets like a madman. He was kicking bodies and just shooting them at close range just to ensure that they had died."


The programme also reveals how the crown prince became increasingly frustrated at his role within the royal family.

In 1990, the people of Nepal took to the streets to demand an end to absolute monarchy and the introduction of multi-party democracy. Fearing a revolution, King Birendra caved into their demands.

Princess Ketaki claims that the crown prince was frustrated at the thought of fulfilling the role of a modern monarch and was reluctant to relinquish the feudal role of absolute king.

Forbidden love

The tragedy was fuelled by the king's refusal to let the crown prince marry his lover, Devyani Rana, who he met in 1989.

The crown prince's mother, Queen Aishwarya, was particularly opposed to the union because Devyani Rana's mother came from the royal family of the Indian state of Gwalior - considered to be of lower social status than the Nepalese royal family.

King Birendra
King Birendra was the first to be killed in the massacre
Devyani's father was also a politician, and came from a rival clan to the queen's.

Ten years on from his first meeting with Devyani Rana, Crown Prince Dipendra was given an ultimatum by his parents - his royal position or marriage to his lover.

Crown Prince Dipendra's brother-in-law, Gorahk Rana, who was married to Dipendra's sister, Princess Shruti, remembers the crown prince's surprise:

"All his life he had always got what he wanted. Nobody would say no to a crown prince."


On 1 June 2001, Crown Prince Dipendra went on the shooting spree in the royal palace, killing his parents, sister, younger brother and five other royals. Crown Prince Dipendra was found with a single bullet wound through the head.

On 2 June he was proclaimed king, but died two days later in hospital. His uncle, Gyanendra, became Nepal's third king in three days.

Devyani Rana fled Nepal and is reported to be in Europe. Her uncle, the Maharajah of Kashmir and an Indian politician, Dr Karen Singh, says she is also a victim:

"Devyani was no less a victim than the people who were actually killed. She was lucky to escape alive, but the psychological toll it took on her was very deep."

The BBC's Caroline Thomsett
"It was a massacre that shattered a royal dynasty"
See also:

26 Dec 01 | Review of 2001
Nepal's year of tragedy
14 Jun 01 | South Asia
Prince blamed for Nepal massacre
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