Nepal revels in British royal wedding

Kathmandu: Once a kingdom that decided to axe its monarchy and turn the unpopular royal family out of the palace, Nepal however revelled in the wedding of the British royals with the fairytale marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton getting pride of place in the Nepali media Saturday.

The royal wedding in Westminster Abbey Friday, that was watched by billions world over, was reported in details, including the Sarah Burton wedding gown, topped by a front-page photo of William kissing the new Duchess of Cambridge on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Only the Maoists, Nepal`s largest party that had in the past fought a 10-year guerrilla war to overthrow the country`s own monarchy, struck a discordant note, choosing to focus on republicans` reported protests in Manchester and Cardiff during the wedding.

But the majority in a country that till three years ago had been a kingdom watched the ceremony spellbound, many flocking to the British Embassy in Kathmandu where a giant screen had been rigged up.

Nepal was probably the first to kick off the wedding celebrations Friday with Blue Diamond Society (BDS), the country`s pioneering gay rights organisation, invited to the embassy to perform a traditional ceremony to bless the royal couple.

A group of nearly a dozen transgenders, some dressed in the finery of ethnic dancers, performed the traditional dance of hijras, the eunuch community, which was once regarded as a must during weddings and births.

Soon after the wedding date was fixed, BDS had announced in a statement that Nepal`s transgender community was offering its blessings and wishes for the royal couple`s happiness. The statement netted them an invite to the British Embassy, if not to Westminster.

People also turned up to sign the register kept at the embassy for offering congratulatory messages.

Besides the Japanese ambassador to Nepal, Tatsuo Mizumo, and the Russian ambassador, Sergey V. Velichkin, Nepalis invoked the blessings of Pashupatinath, one of Nepal`s most revered Hindu deities. A Sherpa couple sought Buddhist blessings for William and Kate.

The delight in the British wedding came while Nepal`s former royals continued to hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.

This week, deposed crown prince Paras Bir Bikram Shah, hated by people for his arrogance and drink-driven rages, was ordered by a district chief to tender a written apology.

Last year, the 39-year-old former heir to Nepal`s throne had become embroiled in a gun battle in a jungle resort, where he allegedly fired in the air after brawling with the son-in-law of a powerful politician.

However, the Chitwan district, where the incident had taken place, could not press serious charges against Paras after the victim developed cold feet.

In the end, the district chief dismissed the case, saying as this was a first offence, Paras would have to provide a written undertaking agreeing not to repeat the act in future.

Incidentally, on the day the British royal wedding was held, royalists in Nepal held a public rally demanding the restoration of monarchy. However, Kate and William`s love story prevailed with no one paying attention to the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal`s demands.