H.M. Svasti Sri Giriraja Chakra Chudamani Narayanetyadi Vividha Virudavali Virajamana Manonnata Mahendramala Parama-Nepal-Pratap-Bhaskara Parama-Ojaswi-Rajanya Parama-Gaurabmaya-Tejaswi-Tribhuvana-Prajatantra-Shripada Parama-Ujjwala-Kirtimaya-Nepal-Shripada Parama-Projjwala-Nepal-Tara Parama-Pavitra-Om-Ram-Patta Parama-Jyotirmaya-Subikhyata-Tri-Shakti-Patta Parama-Suprasiddha-Prabala-Gorkha-Dakshina-Bahu Paramadhipati Atirathi Parama Senadhipati Sri Sri Sri Sri Sri Shriman Maharajadhiraja Birendra Bir Bikram Jang Bahadur Shah Bahadur Shamsher Jang Devanam Sada Samara Vijayinam, King of Nepal, Royal Victorian Chain (23.2.1975)
In 1959 King Birendra enrolled at Eton College in the United Kingdom. After studying at Eton until 1964, he returned to Nepal where he began to explore the country by travelling on foot to the remote parts of the country where he lived on whatever was available in the villages and monasteries. He later completed his education by spending some time at the University of Tokyo, before studying political theory at Harvard University from 1967 to 1968. King Birendra enjoyed traveling in his youth and went on trips to Canada, Latin America, Africa, many parts of India and a number of other Asian countries. He was also an art collector and supporter of Nepalese crafts people and artists, and learnt to fly helicopters.
King Birendra was married to Aishwarya Rajya Lakshmi Devi from the Rana family, his second cousin, on 27 February 1970. The wedding, which was billed as one of the most lavish Hindu nuptial ceremonies in history, cost $9.5 million to stage. King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya had three children:
Birendra succeeded to the Nepalese throne on 31 January 1972, at the age of 27, after the death of his father King Mahendra. On his ascension he was effectively an absolute monarch, as he inherited a country where political parties were banned and he ruled through a system of local and regional councils known as panchayats. Birendra resented the imputation that he was an absolute monarch, maintaining that he presided over a democracy in which representatives to the assembly were indirectly elected and saying that his poor and backward country could not afford a democracy based on party politics and that it needed firm and decisive government. His first trips abroad as king were to India in October 1973 and China two months later as he believed that Nepal, sandwiched between the two Asian powers, should have good relations with both.
After his father's (King Mahendra) death in 1972, King Birendra consulted his court astrologers, who advised him to delay his coronation for three years, with the most auspicious moment for his crowning being at 8:37 am precisely on February 4, 1975. Soon after dawn on that day, King Birendra was driven to the temple of his ancestral palace, the Hanuman Dhoka ("gate of the monkey god"). There he was smeared with mud taken from various symbolic places - the bottom of a lake, the tusk of an elephant, a mountain, the confluence of two rivers and the doorstep of a prostitute's house. Then, with Queen Aishwarya beside him, he was cleansed with butter, milk, yogurt and honey as Priests chanted praises and salutations.
He was appointed as a British Field Marshal in 1980.
In 1989, when the People’s Movement I was taking momentum, as a condition of safeguarding the panchayat system, India put forward some conditions to King Birendra aimed at taking control of national sovereignty. If the King had accepted these conditions, the panchayat system would not have ended. But the king said that, "It is better to surrender to the people rather than surrender to India.”
In 1990, a series of strikes and pro-democracy riots broke out in Nepal. Because of the rioting, King Birendra lifted the ban on political parties and agreed to become a constitutional monarch in April, 1990. He appointed an independent Constitution Recommendation Commission to represent the main opposition factions and to prepare a new constitution to accommodate their demands for political reform. The commission presented him with the draft of the proposed constitution on 10 September 1990. The new constitution would make Birendra head of state of a constitutional monarchy with a system of multiparty democracy. The draft constitution was approved by the Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and his cabinet and so, on 9 November 1990, Birendra promulgated the new constitution transforming Nepal into a constitutional monarchy. King Birendra appointed an interim government to pave the way for elections. To head this he chose Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, who he had imprisoned for several years. In a discussion on BBC radio, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai spoke of King Birendra's impeccable personal manners and courtesy and his equally impeccable role as a constitutional monarch.
However, the quarrels between various political parties and numerous social problems led to the Nepalese Civil War, a conflict between Maoist rebels and government forces, which lasted from 1996 until 2006.
The stability of Nepal was threatened even more when Birendra and his family (including Queen Aishwarya) were massacred at a royal dinner on 1 June 2001.