Deputy Prime Minister, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: Namaste.
I am honoured and excited to be here. When asked last year whether I would make this visit on behalf of Her Majesty to celebrate two hundred years of relations between our countries, I was delighted.
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.
Many members of my family have visited Nepal, including my father and my mother, who were both warmly welcomed. And of course famously, Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary brought Nepal to the attention of the world when the news of their summiting of Everest broke on the morning of my Grandmother’s coronation as Queen. What a way to steal the headlines!
For me, this trip is also personal. I am so grateful that I will have the opportunity to pay tribute to some of Nepal’s most famous ambassadors, the Gurkhas, admired the world over for their fearsome bravery and courage but also for their humility and kindness.
I served alongside Gurkhas during my first tour of Afghanistan and I look forward to visiting the communities that have produced and supported these extraordinary soldiers.
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.
I would like to close by saying how grateful I am to the Government of Nepal for your invitation to mark and celebrate two centuries of relations between our countries. I cannot wait to get out and see all that this country has to offer.
Dhanyabad (Thank you)