Sky’s the limit for Nepal’s ex-crown princess

May 25th, 2009 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, May 25 (IANS) Fate decreed that on the day Nepal got its second prime minister in 12 months, the headlines would also be dominated by a member of the erstwhile royal family that since last year has been learning to live as commoners.

Former crown princess Himani Shah, who was said to have undergone a period of personal problems at a time the Himalayan nation went through a series of political upheavals, hit the headlines Monday after she went paragliding in the tourist city of Pokhara.

The 33-year-old mother of three, who had been shuttling between Singapore and Kathmandu since the abolition of monarchy last year, took the plunge into adventure Sunday, paragliding for nearly an hour escorted by a Brazilian pilot, Wildes Antonioli.

While she was chaperoned by an unnamed woman companion, conspicuous by his absence was her husband, deposed crown prince and former heir to Nepal’s throne Paras Shah, who created a furore recently by saying to a tabloid in Singapore that the massacre in the royal palace eight years ago had been committed by his cousin, the then crown prince Dipendra, who was motivated by money, lust for power and love.

Looking dashing in black trousers, a dark jacket and a crash helmet, the former crown princess presented a stark contrast to her earlier demure image when she was mostly seen accompanying her husband in the traditional sari.

While Paras is known to be fond of football, fast cars and discos, Himani is now providing unexpected glimpses of a sporty spirit. In the past, she had once been sighted teeing off on a golf course in Kathmandu.

Though forced to leave the palace last year and hand over the crown, Nepal’s former royal family still remains first among equals.

Journalists in Pokhara are protesting against the “highhandedness” of Himani’s bodyguards, who reportedly forced the photographer clicking her flight in mid air to delete them.

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