Crown Prince may have wed in secret

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The Independent Online

As the new King and his advisers debate how to defuse his subjects' anger, more detail was emerging yesterday about the dangerous liaison between Crown Prince Dipendra and his girlfriend, Devyani Rana, which is supposed to have provoked last Friday's bloodbath.

Unconfirmed reports say that the couple, whom Dipendra's mother Queen Aishwarya had forbidden to marry, had already secretly tied the knot in a simple religious ceremony in Bhaktapur ­ one of the ancient capitals in the Kathmandu valley ­ just days before the fatal dinner party.

And a front-page article in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper revealed that Devyani had secretly stayed with the Crown Prince in Sydney during last year's Olympic Games. It reported that Devyani had arrived three days after the Crown Prince, and left two days before he did. They had gone shopping and sightseeing together, but had kept their holidays a secret from Australia's Nepali community.

Devyani was said to have been rejected by the late Queen because she was from the wrong branch of the noble Rana line, and was also a quarter Indian.

Another victim of Nepali court snobbery was a British woman called Shirley Greaney. King Birendra's youngest brother, Dhirendra Shah, divorced his Nepali wife ­ also a Rana ­ to marry Ms Greaney. For this offence he was stripped of his titles. In 1988 he left Nepal and exiled himself in the Isle of Wight with his new wife but last year moved back to Nepal. The court refused to admit Ms Greaney on the premises, and as a result she missed the massacre where Dhirendra was shot three times in the neck and chest. He died on Monday after suffering three strokes.

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