Crown Prince of Denmark, Frederik André Henrik, has wowed villagers in a remote district of western Nepal. The opportunity to see a prince charming from a western nation was an entertaining change for the country folks of Lamjung district who have suffered so much since a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25 left their lives literally upside down.
The excitement was such that local woman Sita Gurung told journalists she waited for four hours to catch a glimpse of the prince. “Although I never had the opportunity to see our own prince, I saw one from a foreign country,” she exclaimed.
The attention of the Nepalese media appeared to be on the way the Crown Prince conducted himself. “The Danish prince carries his own bag,” read one headline. In stark contrast to the former Nepalese royalties, Prince Frederik was mostly casual which seemed to surprise the locals as well as the media.
Prince Frederik is in Nepal on a four day unofficial visit to take stock of the earthquake relief operations being undertaken by Red Cross Society. The prince is the commissioner for Danish Red Cross, a Facebook post by Danish embassy in Kathmandu said on September 18.
Although Nepal government officials welcomed him at the Tribhuvan International Airport on Thursday, he did not hang around in Kathmandu. He immediately left for Lamjung district where 16 ‘deluxe rooms’ were booked for the royal entourage at Hotel Gateway Himalaya Resort in Besisahar, the headquarters of Lamjung district.
The prince spent Thursday night at Besisahar but the very next day he was driven five hours before the first wave of crowd welcomed him in traditional ways.
When local woman Taumaya Gurung offered milk in a steel glass as a welcome gesture, Prince Fredrick initially declined but chuckled when his Nepalese assistant told him that it was the local ‘culture’. It was then that the prince agreed to have a drink of the milk.
The visit of the Danish royalty was so important for the locals that 80 year old Mangali Gurung and 92 year old B.B. Tamang walked for hours to catch a glimpse of the prince.
Speaking on the occasion, the prince said it was his first ever visit to Nepal. He had his lunch at a makeshift camp at Pachok Village Development Committee following which locals staged a welcome programme. It was interesting when the 80 year old wife of a former British Gurkha presented Prince Frederick a khukuri. “We brandish Khukuri to our enemies. But we present the same Khukuri to our friends as a gift,” the wife of former Havildar Major, Late Man Bahadur Ghale, told the royal.
Just how global the selfie-culture is became apparent when local women took the opportunity to take slefies with the prince who on his part kept himself busy arresting footage when local women showcased a traditional dance.
He also visited a local school in Pachok and distributed stationary items to the students.
The prince reportedly told Nepal government that he did not need any security as he was on a personal visit to the earthquake-affected nation. However, a group of Nepal Police officers led by an inspector kept a close eye on his security throughout his journey in the hinterland.
He is due to fly back to Copenhagen today.
This article is based on a number of vernacular media reports published from Kathmandu.