Kathmandu, March 20, 2016: British Prince Harry, who arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday on his first tour of Nepal, has said he hopes to â€œshine a spotlightâ€ on resilience of Nepali people recovering from last yearâ€™s devastating earthquakes.
Quakes in April and May last year killed nearly 9,000 people, injured more than 20,000 and rendered hundreds of thousands of peopleÂ homeless.
â€œI know that I arrive in Nepal as you approach the first anniversary of the earthquakes that took so many lives. I pay my respects to those who perished and hope to do what I can to shine a spotlight on the resilience of the Nepali people,â€ the 32-year-old said while addressing a welcome ceremony hosted by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa in Kathmandu.
Prince Harry is on a five-day visit to Nepal at the request of Her Majestyâ€™s Government. The trip coincides with the bicentenary of bilateral relations between Nepal and the United Kingdom. â€œI am deeply honoured and excited to be here… this [is a] visit on behalf of Her Majesty to celebrate 200 years of relations between our countries,â€ said Prince Harry. â€œIâ€™m sure you hear this all the time, but your country holds a special place in the imagination for so many people.â€ The trip will see Prince Harry follow in the footsteps of his father Prince Charles and his grandparents the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, who have all carried out official visits to Nepal. The last visit to Nepal was carried out by Prince Philip in 2000.
During his five-day stay, the British royal is scheduled to visit Bardiya National Park, famous for its tiger conservation efforts, and plans to trek on the foothills of the Himalayas as well asÂ spend a night at a Gurkha soldierâ€™s home.
â€œI look forward to exploring your landscapes, celebrating your cultureâ€¦,â€ said Harry. â€œI cannot wait to get out and see all that this country has to offer. I want to show all those around the world who want to help that this country is open for business.â€
The fifth in line for the British throne is also scheduled to visit earthquake-affected heritage sites.
A member of the British army for 10 years before retiring in June, he served along with Gurkha soldiers in Afghanistan and will meet members of the brigade. â€œI served alongside Gurkhas during my first tour of Afghanistan and I look forward to visiting the communities that have produced and supported these extraordinary soldiers,â€ he said.
â€œFor me, this trip is also personal. I am so grateful that I will have the opportunity to pay tribute to some of Nepalâ€™s most famous ambassadors, the Gurkhas, admired theÂ world over for their fearsome bravery and courage butÂ also for their humility and kindness.â€
Prince Harry is leading a 35-member delegationÂ including UKâ€™s Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire. Immediately after arriving in Kathmandu on Saturday afternoon, Prince Harry paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in Baluwatar where they discussed Nepal-UK diplomatic relations.
“I cannot wait to get out and see all that this country has to offer. I want to show all those around the world who want to help that this country is open for business.”