Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Dippy Used to Get a Bit Overexcited with the Old Super-Soaker Gun'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Dippy Used to Get a Bit Overexcited with the Old Super-Soaker Gun'

Article excerpt


HERE I am in Nepal, installed in my usual suite at the Kathmandu Radisson Edwardian - bloody marvellous plunge pool - tackling one of the trickiest commissions of my career.

Let me tell you something. I leapt at the chance when the call came through on my personal line from His Majesty King Gyanendra of Nepal, imploring me to come over and work on media presentation of this tragic accident. "Gyanendra, my darling, calm down," I said, "just settle down. Now listen, let's sort this out: are you the one who shot them all, and then shot yourself, or are you another one?

Right. I see. Another one.

So did you just duck behind a table or something?

Oh I see: you weren't there.

Well, there's no need to take that tone, Gyanendra my love. I can't be expected to keep up with it all." It turns out that Gyanendra, who is a lovely man, is the brother of the late King Birendra, the last king but one, and uncle to the late Crown Prince "Dippy" Dipendra, the last king. I think that's right. Perhaps it's the other way round. Anyway, as have been saying in my briefing to various Nepalese media organisations: let's not pick and fret over the past. Surely to God it's Nepal's future that matters.

One thing I have tried to get across to Gyanendra - who looks a treat in that beautiful peacock crown-plus-lounge-suit combo - is how we position this event in the media marketplace. We have to think: not Columbine, but JFK in Dallas. Not Timothy McVeigh, but Princess Diana. It's a desperately sad tragedy.

It's an accident, clouded with sadness and a little bit of family dysfunction. And God knows all of us know what family troubles are like.

Which of us hasn't felt like well anyway, let's clear up some media misconceptions.

"Dippy" Dipendra was a lovely guy. I personally have supervised many photo calls showing him with our own Prince Charles: two young princes, modern Royals, meeting of minds etc. He was a regular guest at Highgrove in the early Eighties, with his fat, jolly face and perky little moustache. How the little Princes loved playing with him, although Dippy used to get a bit overexcited with the old Super-Soaker gun. …

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