Prince Harry has begun a five-day visit to Nepal by saying he hoped his visit would shine a spotlight on the “resolve and resilience of the Nepalese people” still recovering from the April 2015 earthquake.
Harry said he was delighted to be asked to visit a country that had captured the imagination of himself and many fellow Britons, during a Nepalese government reception.
Speaking at Saturday’s event, staged at the aptly named Yak and Yeti hotel in the capital, Kathmandu, he told the guests: “Like so many people back home, I have grown up seeing beautiful images of Nepal in books and on television.
“I am sure you hear this all the time, but your country holds a special place in the imagination for so many people around the world.”
Harry had long wanted to visit the country largely due to his admiration and respect for the Gurkha troops he served with in Afghanistan.
He was also keen to see how the country’s rebuilding effort is progressing after the earthquake and aftershocks in April last year killed almost 9,000 people and damaged almost a million houses and buildings.
The prince said: “I also know that I arrive here in Nepal as you approach the first anniversary of the earthquakes that took so many lives and that you are working to recover from.
“I pay my respects to those who perished and hope to do what I can to shine a spotlight on the resolve and resilience of the Nepalese people. I want to show all those people around the world who want to help that this is a country open for business – so please come and visit again.
“I look forward to exploring your landscapes, celebrating your culture, and I hope to make many new friends along the way.”
Harry began his tour by paying a visit to Nepal’s prime minister, Khadga Prasad Oli, and giving him a traditional namaste greeting.
Clasping his hands together and smiling, Harry performed the gesture well known across Nepal and neighbouring India.
It is an ancient Sanskrit greeting that has a number of translations, including “the spirit in me salutes the spirit in you”.
Source: The Guardian