KATHMANDU: Britain’s Prince Harry arrived in Nepal Saturday for the start of a five-day visit to meet with survivors of last year’s devastating earthquake and Gurkha soldiers who helped in rescue efforts.
The prince was welcomed at Kathmandu airport by Nepali government officials on his first visit to the country, which comes as Nepal and Britain mark 200 years of joint relations.
Harry, 31, is scheduled to meet Nepal’s prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli as well as the country’s first female president, Bidhya Bhandari, during the weekend.
“Prince Harry landed in Nepal today as scheduled,” Tara Prasad Pokharel, a spokesman for Nepal’s ministry of foreign affairs, told AFP.
“His visit strengthens the historical bilateral relations between our countries.”
The prince is set to visit heritage sites hit by a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake last April that killed nearly 9,000 people, with the country still reeling from the after-effects.
A member of the British army for 10 years before retiring in June, he served alongside Gurkha soldiers on his two tours in Afghanistan and will meet members of the brigade during his visit.
“Prince Harry is greatly looking forward to getting to know the Nepali culture and people,” an official press statement said.
“But he is also conscious that, almost a year on from the first disaster, Nepal is once again very much open for business and keen to welcome back visitors,” it said.
The prince’s tour will also take him to Bardia National Park in western Nepal, famous for its tiger conservation efforts, according to a statement on his official website.
Harry also plans to undertake a trek on the foothills of the Himalayas as well as spending a night at a Gurkha soldier’s home,
“His visit is very important, and will send a positive message about Nepal to the world,” said Ram Hari Adhikari, general secretary of the UK Nepal Friendship Society.
The British army’s 2,500-strong Gurkha brigade is made up of soldiers recruited in Nepal and has been part of the army for 200 years.