His Majesty King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal, Knight Grand Cordon of the Most Exalted Order of the While Elephant (honest!) has been at it again, receiving tika and prasad (sounds tasty) on Monday 11th September on the occasion of the last day of Indrajatra festival in Kathmandu. It seems to be his only activity these days, after the National Assembly voted last week to strip him of his right to ‘verify’ public documents – specifcally the letters of credence presented by foreign diplomats, who will now present their credentials to government-appointed careerists. It is unclear which, if any, powers or roles His Majesty has left, poor chap.
However, one role does remain – and a vital one at that. Almost on a daily basis, the King provides an opportunity for celebration around the world by graciously and regally extending cordial felicitations to foreign heads of state. Be it the President of Kazakhstan, or the King of Malaysia, we can be sure that His Majesty’s best wishes make a deep impression on the government and peoples of the countries concerned. Nepalis should be grateful their King works so hard to improve international relations and friendship between peoples in this way.
However, surely the King had succumbed to irony on Friday 9 September when it was solemnly announced from the Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathamndu, that His Majesty had extended cordial felicitations to Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army Kim Jong Il, General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, on the occasion of the Day of Foundation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
In his message, the King – who, as we know, is facing ignominious deposition by Maoist rebels – expressed best wishes for General Secretary Kom Jong Il’s personal health and happiness as well as for the continued progress and prosperity (??!!) of the people of North Korea.
His Majesty also expressed confidence that the friendly relations between the two countries would be further strengthened in the years to come. Hum.
Methinks the King has given up altogether!