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 Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 16:28 GMT
Nepal celebrates royal wedding
The king and queen (left) give away their daughter Princess Prearana to Raj Bahadur Singh
The king and queen arranged the marriage
Two days of royal festivities are being held in Nepal to mark the marriage of King Gyanendra's only daughter.

Family members, close friends and a few invited guests watched as Princess Prearana, 25, married commoner Raj Bahadur Singh, 29, late on Wednesday.

Earlier, Hindu priests chanted hymns and prayed as the bridegroom made his way through Kathmandu to the palace.

The wedding gave the monarchy a brief chance to forget the night 19 months ago when 10 royals died in a palace massacre.

Priests' rites

The colourful marriage procession, accompanied by a military cavalcade, was welcomed at the Narayanhity Royal Palace by Crown Prince Paras, Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand and other high-ranking officials.

King Gyanendra (left) and Raj Bahadur Singh
The bridegroom is a computer science graduate

Priests performed pre-marriage rites on a giant flower-festooned dais set up on the lawn in front of the pagoda-style palace, whose red and blue walls were freshly painted.

The wedding ceremony was a strictly private affair presided over by the chief royal priest.

King Gyanendra and Queen Komal gave away the bride to the man they had chosen for her.

On Thursday, the king and queen will bid a ceremonial farewell to their daughter who will be taken in a horse-drawn coach to the home of her husband, before another marriage ceremony will take place.

The bridegroom is a post-graduate in computer science from the University of California.

Princess Prearana is also a computer science graduate and studied business in Britain.

Gyanendra became king in June 2001 after King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya and seven other royals were gunned down at the royal palace.

An official investigation found that a drunk Crown Prince Dipendra had carried out the shootings, before killing himself.

See also:

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