Nepal’s ‘god-king’ wakes up to life as commoner

KATHMANDU, June 12, 2008 (AFP) – Nepal’s former king Gyanendra on Thursday began life as a commoner after leaving his sprawling palace home and army of servants for the last time. He will have to adjust to living in a former hunting lodge on the outskirts of the capital, after leaving the Narayanhiti palace in the back of a black Mercedes with his wife late Wednesday.

Several hundred people gathered to watch the king’s departure from the massive complex in the heart of Kathmandu, with most cheering the end of the monarchy, while a handful of royalists wept.

In his first comments since his 240-year-old dynasty was formally abolished late last month by a Maoist-dominated assembly, the ex-monarch said he respected the decision to turn Nepal into a republic.

“I have assisted in and respected the verdict of the people,” he said in a short address in a hall decorated with stuffed tigers and rhino heads, adding that he “will not leave this country” and go into exile.

Narayan Wagle, the editor of the Kantipur Nepali language daily, who watched the address said it was a “graceful” end to the world’s last Hindu monarchy.

“He has exited gracefully and peacefully and