Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the gruesome Nepalese Royal Massacre, when Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal killed 10 members of the Family in a drunken rage during a family dinner at the Narayanhiti Palace in Khatmandu! To mark the day, were a looking at the central figure and the last victim of the Crown Prince, his mother, Queen Aishwarya of Nepal!
The daughter of Kendra Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana and Shree Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah, she was the elder sister of the now Queen Komal, and belonged to the powerful Rana Dynasty that effectively controlled Nepal for over a century. Growing up at the Lazimpat Durbar in Khatmandu, shewas educated at St Helen’s Convent in Kurseong, India and St Mary’s in Jawalakhel, before passing the S.L.C. from Kanti Ishwari Rajya Laxmi High School in 1963, and then graduating in Arts from Padmakanya College in 1967. In 1969, she married Crown Prince Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev of Nepal, and the couple had three children; Crown Prince Dipendra, Princess Shruti, and Prince Nirajan.
The couple succeeded to the Nepalese Throne in 1972, and had their Coronation in 1975, travelling widely and hosting royal guests from around the world during their reign. Celebrated as a figure of classical beauty, Queen Aishwarya became a style icon famous for her hairstyles and saris, which continue to be widely emulated. Energetic, outspoken and smart, the Queen was involved with many social and cultural programmes, and despite being initially seen as a dominant force, she became one of the most popular members of the Royal Family, after her mother-in-law, Queen Ratna. Writing under the pen-name Chadani Shah, Queen Aishwarya wrote dozens of poems which have been collected under the title Aphnai Akash Aphnai Paribesh, and was also a famous song composer, with her her songs were frequently aired by Radio Nepal and Nepal Television.
In 2001, the Royal Family were gathered for one of their annual dinner parties, when the Crown Prince, in a fit of drunken rage about the family’s refusal to allow him to marry a girl of his choice, shot fourteen members of the family, of which ten were killed, with Queen Aishwarya being the last to be shot before the Crown Prince committed suicide. Queen Aishwarya’s face was so badly disfigured by the gunshot wound that, for the widely attended state funeral procession, it was covered by a porcelain mask bearing her likeness. However, there is a wide controversy regarding the Massacre, with many Nepalese people refusing to believe that the popular Crown Prince was responsible, instead citing Maoist agents, as well as Indian, Chinese, and US intelligence agencies behind the attack, and it was Maoist agents who led to the abolition of the Monarchy in 2008.