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Monday, 4 June, 2001, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Beauty at heart of killings mystery
Devyani and her grandmother
Devyani and her grandmother, the late queen mother of Gwalior
While mystery continues to surround the deaths of Nepal's royal family, one question constantly being asked is whether Crown Prince Dipendra could have killed his parents for the love of a woman.

It has been reported that a furious row between the prince and his mother over his choice of bride - a beautiful, young aristocrat with whom he was smitten - could have provided the catalyst for the bizarre killings.

Queen Aishwarya
The queen apparently objected to the proposed union
According to the reports, the doughty Queen Aishwarya objected to the proposed marriage between Prince Dipendra and his girlfriend Devyani Rana.

On Friday night, he was allegedly warned by his father that he would be passed over as heir if he disobeyed the queen's wishes.

Indian connections

But Dipendra, refusing to be swayed, reportedly revealed that he had secretly married Miss Devyani in a temple according to Hindu rites.

The grief-stricken Miss Devyani is now said to have fled her family's magnificent mansion in Kathmandu for Delhi, where she has influential Indian connections.

It is unclear what the queen's alleged objections to the marriage were.

Deependra
Dipendra was said to have been smitten
A number of theories have emerged, ranging from her family connections to the fact that the union was apparently not written in the stars.

Astrologers had foretold that the couple's horoscopes were not 'cosmically synchronised' and warned of a great tragedy if the wedding went ahead.

Well-educated

Miss Devyani, who is said to be in her 20s, belongs to one of Nepal's most aristocratic families.

The couple's relationship had not been a secret, with the pair often seen dining out in a local pizza restaurant near the royal palace.

Some newspaper reports say they had also been seen together in Australia and London.


In Nepal, anti-India sentiment has often set the kingdom on fire and the last thing the royal family needed was a future queen with Indian blood in her veins

India Express newspaper
Miss Devyani was educated in one of India's leading private schools, Welham School in Dehradun, a hill resort in the north of the country. It is quite common for well-off Nepalese families to send their girls to the school.

Her father, Pashupati Rana, is a high-profile member of the Nepalese parliament and a former foreign minister.

He is descended from the Rana clan, traditionally the rulers of Nepal and thus a distant relative of the queen, also a Rana.

Royal dynasty

In the early 1950s, the king's family, the Shahs, became sovereign.

Marriage between the two families was often seen as a way to maintain political stability in the tiny mountainous kingdom.

But reports suggest two main reasons why the queen was adamantly against the latest proposed union.

One theory is that Miss Devyani's father was descended from a rival branch of the Rana clan to that of Queen Aishwarya, and she favoured a distant relative from her side of the family as a bride.

Another theory is that Miss Devyani was ruled out because of her Indian connections.

Her mother is related to one of India's most famous royal dynasties, the former maharajas of Gwalior.

And her uncle is Madhav Rao Scindia, a senior figure in India's main opposition Congress party, and her aunt, Vasundra Raje Scindia, is a junior minister in Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's cabinet, according to the Indian Express.

Relations between the two countries are sensitive and Queen Aishwarya is said to have insisted that Miss Devyani's Indian links could have proved unpopular.

This was echoed by the Express, which said such connections made her a less than suitable candidate.

"In Nepal, anti-India sentiment has often set the kingdom on fire and the last thing the royal family needed was a future queen with Indian blood in her veins," the newspaper wrote.


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03 Jun 01 | South Asia
02 Jun 01 | South Asia
02 Jun 01 | South Asia
03 Jun 01 | South Asia
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