Nepal's ousted king quits
Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June
2008 16:47 UK
Nepal's ousted king quits
The deposed king of Nepal, Gyanendra, has moved out of
the palace in the capital Kathmandu where his family
lived for more than a century.
He and his wife, the former queen Komal, swept out of
the compound in the back of a black Mercedes as scores
of riot police guarded the main gate.
Earlier, he said he had handed back his crown and
royal sceptre and would work for the good of the new
Last month, Nepal's Maoist-led assembly voted to
abolish the monarchy.
The palace in the centre of Kathmandu is to become a
Gyanendra and his wife are moving to a new, temporary
residence outside the city.
'The people's verdict'
A police and army escort followed the ex-monarch's car
as he left for Nagarjun, in the north-western suburbs
The couple will live in a large, comfortable but
ordinary-looking house there.
A few loyalist onlookers called for Gyanendra to stay
on as his car left but many in the crowd near the
palace seemed happy to see him go, correspondents say.
"This marks the beginning of a new Nepal and the end
of a dynasty that has done nothing but harm this
country," Devendra Maharjan, a farmer who had come to
Kathmandu to see the king leave the palace, told The
"If it had not been for the kings, Nepal would
probably not have remained a poor nation."
Speaking to journalists at the palace earlier, the
former monarch said he had given his priceless crown
to the Nepalese government for its protection.
"I have assisted in and respected the verdict of the
people," Gyanendra said, insisting he would not leave
Nepal and go into exile.
Addressing Nepali people's widespread belief that he
had engineered the royal massacre of 2001, he
vigorously denied involvement.
He pointed out that his wife had had several bullets
lodged in her body in the attack, in which Crown
Prince Dipendra shot dead King Birendra and eight
other members of the royal family before killing
Gyanendra said he had taken over power in 2005 hoping
it would bring harmony and peace, but he admitted
things had not worked out as he had planned.
His stepmother and his grandfather's mistress will
live on in their homes within the compound of the
palace in central Kathmandu, in a fenced-off area.
The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says that the
former monarch's departure is a major symbolic moment
in the fall of the Shah dynasty, which unified Nepal
in the 1760s.
The Maoists, who urged Gyanendra to bow out gracefully
or be put on trial, welcomed the news that he was
But the ending of the monarchy has generally been a
bitter affair, our correspondent says.
It was engendered by the 2001 massacre and Gyanendra's
attempts to be politically active in quelling the
Maoist insurgency, he adds.
The deposed king is reported to be reluctant to allow
a committee to audit his saleable assets.
He has made clear that he will leave behind most of
the furniture in the palace, along with gifts he
received in his capacity as the country's head of
Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said details of
which possessions he keeps and which ones he leaves
behind would be publicised after his departure from
Mr Sitaula and the information minister inspected
Gyanendra's new home earlier this week.
Photos of their visit drew some criticism from people
upset over the number of animal trophies and other
wildlife artefacts on display. They argue that such
items should be confiscated.
FALL OF THE MONARCHY
November 1991: King Birendra becomes constitutional
monarch and reintroduces multiparty democracy
June 2001: Crown Prince Dipendra shoots nine members
of the royal family before killing himself. Gyanendra
succeeds to the throne
February 2005: Gyanendra sacks government and assumes
full executive powers
April 2006: Mass protests force reinstatement of
parliament and king is stripped of most powers
April 2008: Maoists win most seats in elections to
May 2008: Nepal declared a republic, ending 240 years
June 2008: Gyanendra leaves his palace in Kathmandu,
home of his family for more than a century