Another tragedy befalls Nepal’s former royals

October 30th, 2008 - 4:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Oct 30 (IANS) Even as Nepal celebrated a clutch of festivals with fanfare, fresh tragedy smote the former kingdom’s deposed royal family with the last king’s son-in-law succumbing to a sudden heart attack.Abhinesh Shah, 35, who had been joined to Nepal’s then all-powerful royal family in 2003 by marriage to Princess Sitashma, King Gyanendra’s niece, died Thursday in Kathmandu.

Shah, who had been suffering from nerve and bone ailments and was to have been taken to Bangkok for medical treatment, breathed his last at Kathmandu’s Norvic Hospital, the same place that had in the past successfully treated deposed crown prince Paras for a major cardiac arrest.

Shah’s untimely death adds to the tragic aura about a family that was haunted by disaster.

Sitashma is the second daughter of Dhirendra, the youngest brother of Gyanendra.

Dhirendra was stripped of his prince title after he separated from his wife, Princess Prekshya, who was the youngest sister of the queen, and moved to the UK to marry a westerner.

On his return to Kathmandu, the ill-fated prince became caught in the midnight massacre in the royal palace in June 2001 and was killed along with the king, Birendra, queen Aishwarya and seven other royals.

Less than six months after the slayings, Princess Prekshya was killed in a fatal crash when the helicopter carrying her plunged into a lake.

In 2003, King Gyanendra had given his orphaned niece Sitashma in marriage to Abhinesh Shah.

Shah had been close to Paras and the only royal to publicly deny reports that the unpopular former heir to the throne was shaking the dust of Nepal off his feet to relocate to Singapore.

A sorrowful Paras, who had left for Singapore earlier this year, returned to Kathmandu Thursday to attend his friend and brother-in-law’s last rites.

The death occurred even as Nepal celebrated Bhai Tika, when Nepali women offered prayers for the long life of their brothers.

In the past, images of Gyanendra’s sister Shobha feting her brother used to dominate the media.

However, Shah’s death put the deposed royals in mourning with all festivities now deferred for a year.

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