Friday 1st June, 2001. The Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu, Nepal. Circa 2100hrs.

During a party to which almost all the royal family had been invited, Prince Dipendra, who had been taken to his room early for “misbehaving”, burst into the dining hall and shot and killed everyone there, with the exception of Prince Paras and 4 other people, who hid behind the sofa. He subsequently found his mother and brother outside of the Palace, where he killed them, taking his own life moments later.

A dark day for all Nepali royalists, other than the barbers, who made a killing in haircuts as shaving one’s head is a demonstration of grief.

As with so many events of this or a similar nature, numerous conspiracy theories have grown-up around it. One of the dominant ones is that Gyanendra, the now dead Kings brother, who before the massacre was 2nd in line to the thrown after the King’s son, orchestrated the whole event. With the apparent suicide of the Prince, Gyanendra took power (only to be later toppled by the Maoist “revolution”). At the time of the massacre, he was out of town (in Pokhara) and his wife and son were 2 of the 5 people who survived. Until he died, the Prime Minister maintained that the massacre had been a “grand design”…

While details are not clear, it is suspected that Prince Dipendra never in fact fired a single shot. Tests from the dining room suggest that shots were fired by what seems like more than one person, from several different guns. A story which is supposed to be based on the eye-witness account of a maid who survived claims that there were two masked men posing as one Prince. There are suggestions that, while Prince Dipendra was left-handed, the shot that ended his life could have only been fired from his right hand, or by that of another. On top of all this, there were no post-mortems, as the entire family was rushed off to Pashupatinath to be burned.

Duh-duh-duuuuuuuuh. Conflicting stories, but nevertheless entertaining. Oh, and of course tragic.

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