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Ex-Nepal king’s grandchildren stop going to school: report

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : The exit of deposed king Gyanendra from the royal palace and the abolition of Nepal’s once revered institution of monarchy has affected the former king’s grandchildren as well, though they had no role in the upheaval that shook the country following their grandfather’s ascension.

The former king’s three grandchildren, the oldest of whom is just eight, have stopped going to school for fear of safety since Nepal officially became a republic May 28, a media report said.

Purnika, the eldest daughter of former crown prince Paras and his wife Himani, her six-year-old brother Hridayendra and the youngest, Krittika, five, have stopped attending their upmarket school, Roopy’s International, to shield them from fallouts of the change, the Ghatana Ra Bichar daily said Wednesday.

Though the children’s exams are round the corner, it is not sure if they would sit for the tests, said the tabloid, a regular palace watcher.

While the spotlight has been on dethroned king Gyanendra, who left the Narayanhity royal palace for good a fortnight ago, the chain of events would be certain to affect the children as well.

Once regular visitors to the palace and used to being treated with deference wherever they went, the children are likely to notice the difference now following the historic vote in the constituent assembly last month that overnight stripped them of all their titles and privileges and reduced them to commoners.

Of the three grandchildren, Hridayendra has been in the headlines the most, starting from his very birth.

Welcomed as the second in line to the royal throne after his father Paras, the baby prince at one time seemed destined for a greater role in Nepal’s politics with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala advising unpopular King Gyanendra to abdicate along with his son in favour of the baby prince so that the institution of monarchy could be saved.

However, the king refused to heed the advice and subsequently, Nepal’s first national election after nine long years resulted in the formal abolition of the monarchy.

Hridayendra’s birthday falls next month and the celebrations are going to be more muted than in the past.

After the king’s 14-month government triggered an anti-monarchy uprising, the royal family’s heady days of absolute power came to an end.

In the past, Paras had escaped unscathed even after his car ran over and killed a popular singer. However, after the ouster of King Gyanendra’s government in 2006, there was quick public anger as the car carrying little Hridayendra brushed against a motorcycle, resulting in the royals agreeing to a quick compensation in order to avert trouble.

The tabloid said that the children’s mother, the only royal to have nursed her own children against the prevailing royal tradition of hiring wet nurses, was worried about the security of the three and had proposed sending them to India for education.

However, the proposal was apparently shot down by the king, who had taken umbrage at India’s role in the downfall of his government as well as the repeated deaf ear turned by the Indian government to his proposals to visit New Delhi during his rule to woo the leaders there.

While the grandchildren were spending their time at home, splashing in the swimming pool and playing, the tabloid said the dethroned king, who had announced he would not leave the country but stay on for the welfare of the nation, was keeping himself occupied by watching Nepali films.

Living in the Nagarjuna palace, a former royal hunting lodge on the outskirts of the capital where the government has allowed him to move into, Gyanendra was keen to go to a nearby cinema to watch Nepali films, the paper said.

However, his desire was quashed by the security agencies, who felt it would not be a wise move.