June 1, 2001: Nepalese Prince Kills King, Queen, and 7 Others in Royal Rampage!

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A Brief History

On June 1, 2001, Crown Prince Dipendra, heir to the throne of Nepal, went on an alcohol and hashish fueled murder tantrum for being sent to his room!

Digging Deeper

At a party hosted by the royal family, Dipendra got drunk, high, a little too rowdy with one of the guests causing his father to order him away from the party and to his room.  Escorted to his room by his brother and his cousin.

Crown Prince Dependra Bikram Shah Dev

During the next hour Dipendra amassed an arsenal consisting of an M16A2 rifle, an H&K MP5K submachine gun, a Franchi SPAS 12 gauge shotgun, and a Glock 19 semiautomatic pistol.

Dipendra returned to the party and fired an attention getting shot into the ceiling.  He then shot his father, the king, and the bloodbath had begun. Dipendra shot his uncle who had tried to stop him, and started shooting people seemingly at random.

The king, wounded at the start of the massacre grabbed the MP5K that Dipendra had thrown down in favor of another of his weapons and as the king tried to shoot his son to stop the murders, the king’s own sister wrestled with the king, removing the magazine from the submachine gun.  Apparently, the king’s sister had thought the MP5K was the only gun Dipendra had brought to the party and she was trying to end the carnage. Oops!

After shooting and killing 9 family members and wounding another 4, Dipendra shot himself as well.  Taken to a hospital with the other victims, Dipendra was declared King as he was the heir to the throne upon his father’s death.  It seems in Nepal that the King is above the law, and had Dipendra survived, he could not have been prosecuted!  That scenario became moot when after a 3 day coma Dipendra died without regaining consciousness.

As governments seem so likely to do, the Nepalese prince next in line to the throne (after Dipendra) originally claimed the massacre was the result of “an accidental discharge of an automatic weapon.”  That ridiculous statement was soon replaced by the results of an investigation that found Dipendra had carried out the attack himself.  Some inconsistencies in the report fueled suspicion that there had been other motives, perhaps Dipendra being unhappy about the choice his father made for Dipendra’s bride.

Dipendra desired to marry Devyani Rana, the daughter of an Indian royal family whom he had met in England, but due to her family’s lower caste and her father’s political alliances Dipendra’s parents objected; he was told that he would have to give up his claim to the throne in order to marry her.  Devyani Rana fled to India immediately after the royal massacre to escape media attention.

Devyani Rana during election campaign of her father Pashupati SJB Rana.

Royal family massacres are not uncommon throughout history, but are definitely uncommon in the 21st Century!  This sort of rarity also sprouted various conspiracy theories claiming the secret service of India or the CIA of the United States was responsible for the murders.  The man that became king, Prince Gyanendra, was also alleged to have been behind the massacre for the obvious reason that it propelled him onto the throne.  Some claimed one or more gunmen wearing masks of Dipendra’s face were actually the shooters.

The final question we have, is why is there a family monarchy in the 21st Century anyway?  Should there be any monarchies in the modern world?  Tell us what you think.

Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Gregson, Jonathan.  Massacre at the Palace.  Miramax, 2002.

Willesee, Amy and Mark Whittaker.  Love and Death in Kathmandu: A Strange Tale of Royal Murder.  St. Martin’s Press, 2014.

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.