Princess Diana in Nepal, 1993 

Diana, Princess of Wales embarked on an Official Visit to Nepal on this day in 1993, which was her first Official Visit following the announcement of her Separation from the Prince of Wales a few months earlier.

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The Princess of Wales was on a visit in her capacity as patron of the British Red Cross Youth and the Leprosy Mission, staying at the British Embassy rather than the Palace with the Nepalese Royal Family. 

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Crown Prince Dipendra hosted a Banquet for the Princess of Wales at the Narayanhiti Palace, while a few days later, she had a private dinner with King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya.

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The visit was described: 

The moment Diana emerged from a commercial jet on March 2, it was plain that Diana’s tiara had slipped. Rather than “God Save the Queen,” a band welcomed her with Spanish pop tunes rounded off with the “Colonel Bogey March.”

Although Di was greeted by Crown Prince Dipendra, 21, she was quartered not at the Nepalese royal palace but at the British Embassy. Instead of the chef, chauffeur, private secretary and ladies-in-waiting who had accompanied her on previous trips, she was attended only by her sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, 38. It was Prince Dipendra, not King Birendra and Queen Aishworya, who hosted the banquet for her at the palace on March 3. Although she did meet the royal couple later, it was at a private dinner.

To the practiced eye, the stamp of Palace strategists was unmistakable. “The downgrading was definitely on Palace orders,” says Brian Hoey, author of All the Queen’s Men, a book about the royal household. “One thing Buckingham Palace hates and fears more than anything else is a ‘runaway royal.’ It was a subtle way of trying to put her in her place.”

Fighting to bolster herself, the Princess has countered by pumping up her image as a working woman. In Nepal, her press officer announced that Diana’s visit was in her capacity as patron of the British Red Cross Youth and the Leprosy Mission. At her side, in fact, was the British Overseas Development Minister, Baroness (Lynda) Chalker. The pairing could work to Diana’s advantage: A respected Tory government official who shares the Princess’ concern for the underprivileged, Chalker, 50, is responsible for an aid budget of $3.4 billion. “In charity circles, this is the dream ticket,” noted reporter Robert Hardman in the Telegraph. “Visits from a glamorous…figure of world renown and the globe-trotting minister with the checkbook: two different faces of British benevolence—headlines and bottom lines in one go.”

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