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Saturday, 2 June, 2001, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Eton's royal connection
Eton College
Eton is popular with foreign monarchies
Both King Birendra of Nepal, and the son who is believed to have killed him, attended Eton College, one of the most famous private boarding schools in the UK.

Crown Prince Dipendra, who is believed to have shot members of his family before turning his gun on himself, studied at Eton for three years.

The Provost of Eton, Eric Anderson, said Dipendra was remembered as a "great student".

"He was a very popular boy and was also liked by all his teachers."

Nicknamed "Dippy" by some of the other pupils, the prince finished 11 years ago with three A-levels, grades A, B and C.

Crown Prince Dipendra
Crown Prince Dipendra was remembered as a 'bright student' at Eton
Mr Anderson said that those who remembered him were "deeply shocked" by what had occurred.

Prince Nirajan, the crown prince's 22-year-old younger brother, who was shot dead, was at Eton at the same time as Prince William.

Princes revered

The two princes started at the public school on the same day in 1995.

Like Dipendra, Nirajan was revered as a demi-god in Nepal.

At Eton he reportedly had a phone and fax in his room to help him stay in touch with affairs of state at home and with the Nepalese Embassy in London.

During his three years in England he stayed with his guardian Sir Jeremy Bagge and his family in Norfolk.

Sir Jeremy had gone to Eton with King Birendra and the two had remained friends ever since.

He said: "Nirajan was a very likeable, adventurous young lad and suddenly he has lost his life.

"He lived with us as a member of the family.

"We are all dumbfounded, the children as well because they have lost a friend.

"He was just older than Prince William but they knew each other."

King Abdullah of Jordan
King Abdullah of Jordan trained at Sandhurst
The choice of a school in the Home Counties for a royal family from the Himalayas reflects a longstanding tradition.

Prestigious private schools in the UK have attracted overseas students, often including the offspring of royal and ruling families.

It is often wealthy families from Asia, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent, who send children to British public schools.

The practice reflects links dating back to the British Empire and shared traditions in areas such as the armed forces.

There is an established path through English public schools, Oxbridge colleges and Sandhurst, or perhaps finishing with a stint at a business college in the United States.

King Hussein of Jordan
The late King Hussein of Jordan followed a now-established education path
The late King Hussein of Jordan attended Harrow School and Sandhurst, where his son, King Abdullah was also trained.

King Birendra, who was at Eton between 1959 and 1964, went on to study at the University of Tokyo in Japan and Harvard University in the United States.

Eton College, founded in 1440, can hold up an impressive old boys list which includes 18 prime ministers ranging from the Duke of Wellington to Harold Macmillan.

Writers such as George Orwell (or Eric Blair as he was known at school) and Percy Bysshe Shelley are also former pupils.

Long-term decline

While the big-name public schools have no shortage of recruits, overseas students have become an important part of the economy of the less prestigious boarding schools.

The boarding school sector has been in long-term decline for decades, with fewer families in the UK wanting to send away their children.

And this has encouraged schools to look overseas, with recruitment drives in the US and reports that schools were beginning to attract students from Europe.

Families, particularly in Germany, use a couple of years in school in the UK as a way of learning English.

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See also:

02 Jun 01 | South Asia
In pictures: Nepal in shock
02 Jun 01 | South Asia
Nepal's monarch of change
24 May 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Nepal
24 May 01 | South Asia
Timeline: Nepal
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