By Ram Khatry, Sydney
10 March 2018
We don’t know which family or in what village but know this, an ordinary family in Nepal will soon host a guest the like of whom it most probably will never host again. Yes, Prince Harry is apparently bunking with one lucky Nepalese family in some remote mountainous hamlet.
It is understood this is being planned because the British royal wishes to see and experience Nepal in its truest of form and beauty. While he is in the tiny Himalayan nation, he is not looking for the VVIP accommodation he is usually accustomed to.
The adventurous prince is due to visit Nepal, a country close to his heart due to his mateship with the fearsome Gurkha legends he worked with on Afghan battlefields, from March 19 to 23. During the five-day visit, he will be holding official meetings with the president and prime minister of Nepal as well as overseeing operations aimed at rebuilding the beleaguered nation left utterly devastated by last year’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
According to the website of a celebrity magazine, Prince Harry ‘wants a different experience’ during his first Nepal visit. Citing its royal source, the magazine claimed that the 31 year old ‘is to sleep in a small, rural home in a remote hillside village’.
The reported ‘bunking‘ with a humble Nepalese family is likely to happen around the lake city of Pokhara because the royal itinerary includes a trek to world-famous trekking routes in that region. “In this breath-taking environment, he will see how Nepal’s natural bounty is being carefully opened up to visitors, so that conservation efforts and tourist revenue can become self-reinforcing,” a statement published on his website said on March 8.
His trek will be the highlight of his visit as he gets to ‘learn more about the background and culture of the Gurkhas, many of whom are recruited from Western Nepal’. Prior to the trek, he will meet two Gurkha families whose homes were badly damaged by last year’s earthquakes. Their reconstruction has been led by the Gurkha Welfare Trust, which provides financial and development aid to veterans and their families, the statement further said.
Prince Harry is not visiting Nepal to cater to any youthful longing for a distant land. This is a strictly official visit during which he will be representing Her Majesty’s Government. “The visit will support British interests in the region and highlight the broad and deep relationship between the UK and Nepal. 2016 marks the bicentenary of bilateral relations between the two countries,” the statement said.
It is understood Prince Harry has requested maximum exposure to the everyday environments of the ordinary Nepalese people so that he could experience ‘the resilience of the people of the country’ first-hand.
The 31 year old ‘prince charming’ has repeatedly spoken highly of the British Gurkha soldiers he served with while on tour of duty in Afghanistan. He is reported to have enjoyed ‘goat curry’ with the Nepalese soldiers in their field kitchen when he worked as a helicopter pilot in the army. He once said, while in the war-torn country, he felt the safest while around his Gurkha brothers.
“I always wanted to be a Gurkha, but the opportunity never arose,” he was quoted as saying by The Telegraph in 2015, “Physically, I bow down to these guys. They are incredible.”
In 2007, Prince Harry happened to work with Sgt Dipprasad Pun who later won the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for defeating up to 30 Taliban fighters in 2010, all by himself. The Talibans were attempting to overrun Sgt Pun’s control post in Helmund province. The two war-time mates were reunited during last year’s bi-centenary celebration of the ‘unbroken Gurkha service’ to the British Crown. The June 2015 event was attended by all members of the royal family including the Queen.