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Saturday, 2 June, 2001, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Massacre in Nepal
Mourners gather at the royal palace
Nepal is in a state of shock after the massacre of the Himalayan state's royal family by the heir to the throne, Prince Dipendra. The country is in a constitutional crisis as the prince should now become king although he is critically ill in hospital after turning his light machine gun on himself.


Chaos and confusion

King Birendra and Queen Aishworya of Nepal
King Birendra and Queen Aishworya
As news of the massacre spread around the country, Nepalese people reacted with shock and disbelief. The king was admired as a reformer and his death has left the monarchy in a vacuum. Jill McGivering reports from Kathmandu.

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'The country woke in total shock'

Mourners in kathmandu
Mourners carry a picture of King Birendra
King Birendra's popularity stemmed from his efforts to modernise and democratise Nepal. Despite the reforms news has been hard to come by in a nation unused to being the focus of world attention. Editor of the Nepalese Times Kunda Dixit describes the mood of the country.

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Political uncertainty

British ambassador Ronald Nash
British ambassador Ronald Nash
The political stability of Nepal has been rocked by the massacre and experts predict the power vacuum may lead to unrest. The British ambassador Ronald Nash has advised Britons to stay off the streets while the issue of a successor to King Birendra is resolved.

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Blair offers sympathy

Tony Blair speaking in Salford
Blair stressed Britain's links with Nepal
Messages of sympathy have come from throughout the world. Among those to pay respects was Prince Charles who was a friend of the Nepalese monarch. The British Prime Minister Tony Blair told journalists at an election news conference it was a "terrible tragedy".

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