Royal Family, The Gurkhas, and Nepal
There are countless reasons why the Royal family have a close bond with the Gurkhas, writes The Gurkha Welfare Trust. The Gurkha Trust has given some examples follows (edited):
1. Prince Harry served with the Gurkhas
Prince Harry famously served alongside the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles during his tour of Afghanistan in 2007-2008. During his stint in-country he memorably commented:
“When you know you are with the Gurkhas, I think there’s no safer place to be.”
Prince Harry famously served alongside the 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles during his tour of Afghanistan in 2007-2008
2. The creation of QGOOs
The Queen insists that Gurkha Orderly Officers (QGOOs) are by her side at public events. The QGOOs date back to Queen Victoria who established this position in 1876.
In 1954, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II reintroduced this practice by commanding that two Gurkha Officers should be nominated annually as ‘The Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officers’. To this day two soldiers (rotated periodically) attend official functions by the Her Majesty’s side.
3. The Queen at G200
2015 was the bicentenary of the Gurkhas fighting alongside Great Britain – 200 years of courageous and loyal service in the British Army. To celebrate this momentous milestone, amongst other members of the Royal Family, The Queen attended the G200 pageant in London in recognition of all that the Gurkhas have done for Britain.
The Queen attended the G200 pageant in London in recognition of all that the Gurkhas have done for Britain.
4. Princess Mary and the 10th Gurkha Rifles
Royals showed their support with the renaming of the 10th Gurkha Rifles in Princess Mary’s honor following her service in World War Two. From 1949 they became 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles.
5. Gurkhas at the Royal Wedding
Because of his secure connection with the Gurkha regiments, there was no surprise that Gurkha soldiers were invited to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.
Amongst the Gurkhas involved was Captian Chandrabahadur Pun who served with Prince Harry in Afghanistan. His Royal Highness shook hands with Chandra and introduce him to Prince William before entering the ceremony.
6. The Prince of Wales is Colonel in Chief of RGR
Prince Charles is the Patron and the Colonel in Chief of the Royal Gurkha Rifles.
The Prince of Wales’ link to the Royal Gurkha Rifles dates back to 1977 when he became Colonel-in-Chief of the 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles).
At a ceremony held in Buckingham Palace last year, speaking to around 150 soldiers and their family members present in the palace, the Prince said:
“Your forefathers would be most proud of you here today, continuing to demonstrate the traditions and achievements that together ensure the worldwide reputation of the Gurkhas as the best soldiers.”
The Prince of Wales’ link to the Royal Gurkha Rifles dates back to 1977.
7. Princess Diana’s visit to Nepal
Princess Diana visited Nepal in 1993. She was greeted in the village of Majua, close to the Gurkha Welfare Centre in Terathum, Nepal.
8. Prince Harry’s visit to Nepal
In March 2016, HRH Prince Harry to some of our post-quake rebuilding projects in Nepal.
The Prince met pupils and staff from Shree Gaunda School, located in Okhari village in the district of Lamjung. The school was destroyed by 2015 earthquake.
Prince Harry also spent time with some of Gorkha Welfare Pensioners. He attended a Gurkha veteran and two widows from Lamjung District, whose homes were re-built by Gurkha Welfare Trust. He also spent the night in one of the new houses.