Queen Aishwarya of Nepal

Aishwarya Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah (Nepali: ऐश्वर्य राज्य लक्ष्मी देवी शाह) (7 November 1949 – 1 June 2001) was the Queen of Nepal from 1972 to 2001, also referred as Bada Maharani (बडामहारानी). She was the wife of King Birendra and the mother of King Dipendra, Prince Nirajan, and Princess Shruti. She was the eldest among the three daughters of late General Kendra Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana and Shree Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah in Lazimpat Durbar, Lazimpat, Kathmandu.[citation needed]

Aishwarya 1972.jpg
Queen Aishwarya in 1972
Queen consort of Nepal
Tenure31 January 1972 – 1 June 2001
Coronation24 February 1975
Born(1949-11-07)7 November 1949
Lazimpat Durbar, Kathmandu, Kingdom of Nepal
Died1 June 2001(2001-06-01) (aged 51)
Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu, Kingdom of Nepal
(m. 1970)
IssueKing Dipendra
Princess Shruti
Prince Nirajan
Aishwarya Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah
HouseRana; by birth
Shah; by marriage
FatherGeneral Kendra Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana
MotherShree Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah

She was celebrated as a woman of classical beauty, famous for her hairstyles and ways of dressing.


She had her school education in St Helen's Convent of Kurseong, India and St Mary's of Jawalakhel. She passed S.L.C. from Kanti Ishwari Rajya Laxmi High School in 1963. She was enrolled in the Tribhuvan University-affiliated school, Padmakanya College and graduated in arts in 1967.

Family backgroundEdit

She was from the Rana family which had ruled Nepal for 104 years. She was the eldest daughter of General Kendra Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana (1921–1982) and his wife, Shree Rajya Lakshmi Shah (1926–2005). She had two brothers (Suraj Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana; Uday Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana) and two sisters (Queen Komal Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah; Princess Prekshya Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah).[citation needed] After her death, her younger sister became Queen consort of Nepal. Her family had been the effective rulers of Nepal until the 1950s. In 1970, she married Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, then Crown Prince of Nepal (and her second cousin).

Crown Princess Aishwarya in 1970

Aishwarya's youngest sister Prekshya also married into the Shah dynasty, marrying Gyanendra and Birendra's brother Prince Dhirendra who was killed in the palace massacre. They divorced in the 1980s.[1] Princess Prekshya was killed in a helicopter crash on 12 November 2001.

Queen of NepalEdit

After King Mahendra died in 1972, Birendra became the King and Aishwarya became the Queen consort.

Queen Aishwarya was energetic, outspoken and a smart woman having beauty with brains.[2] She arranged different social and cultural programmes.

Queen Aishwarya supported her husband in every steps of her life though difficulties came across them. She was a far sighted women who could understand the need of the country and its people.

The country people took her support for her husband as a dominant nature, but with the passage of time, Queen Aishwarya's dominance over her husband reportedly mellowed down and she was seen as a caring companion for her husband, whose popularity increased with time.[3]

Literary worksEdit

She was interested in literature under the pen-name Chadani Shah, wrote dozens of poems which have been collected under the title Aphnai Akash Aphnai Paribesh. The anthology is prefaced with criticisms about Chadani Shah's writing by veteran critics of Nepalese Literature. She was also a famous song composer and her songs were frequently aired by Radio Nepal and Nepal Television.


Queen Aishwarya was shot dead along with her husband, King Birendra; her son, Prince Nirajan; her daughter, Princess Shruti; and seven other royal family members. It is widely believed that the motive for the murder was the strong opposition to the Crown Prince's proposed marriage to Devyani Rana. Queen Aishwarya's face was so badly disfigured by the gunshot wound that, for the widely attended state funeral procession, it was covered by a porcelain mask bearing her likeness.[4]




Royal TitlesEdit

Royal titles
Preceded by Queen consort of Nepal
Succeeded by


  1. ^ "Genealogy". Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  2. ^ "King Birendra of Nepal". 3 June 2001. Retrieved 21 April 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  3. ^ "Aishwarya: Nepal's forceful queen". 5 June 2001. Retrieved 21 April 2018 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  4. ^ Amy Willesee & Mark Whittaker (2004). Love & Death in Kathmandu A Strange Tale of Royal Murder, 1st U.S. ed. New York : St. Martin's Press, 2004. ISBN 1-84413-558-6 / 1-84413-558-6
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  12. ^ "Boletín Oficial del Estado" (PDF). Retrieved 21 April 2018.
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External linksEdit