Our man inside the Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu reports the sad news that His Majesty King Gyanendra has finally been stripped of even his ceremonial roles. The new interim constitution, agreed (as it happens, unconstitutionally) by the Seven-Party Alliance Government and the Maoist rebels late on Saturday night officially suspends the institution of monarchy and makes the Prime Minister de facto head of state. The Constituent Assembly, expected to meet for the first time next June, will definitively decide on the monarchy’s fate – and all pundits are predicting that this will spell the end of the crown and the dawn of a new republican era.
Our man, hidden behind the Royal drinks cabinet for almost half a year now, reports that His Majesty is not a little miffed by proceedings. He has now abandoned the capital for another palace in the south of the country, apparently on the advice of his royal astrologers (yes – the same astrologers who gave him the benefit of such good advice when he assumed absolute power last year). We have to sympathise with the King – in the space of eight months he has gone from absolute monarch and ruler of his people, to the laughing stock of south-east Asia with no powers and at the mercy of Maoist terrorists. He has been betrayed, spat upon and humiliated. Even his few public supporters are now hounded out of meeting halls in Kathmandu and viciously attacked by murderous Maoist students.
The future does indeed look bleak for His Majesty, despite the sustained public support for retaining the monarchy. Here at the RCC we would like to wish His Majesty well, and hope that this madness in Nepal will quickly pass. Then, triumphant, His Majesty can once again rule his loyal people with wisdom and magnanimity. God save the King!