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Britain’s Prince Harry begins 5-day official trip to Nepal

March 19, 2016

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Britain’s Prince Harry began a five-day official trip to Nepal on Saturday, meeting with the prime minister and attending a ceremony to mark 200 years of relations between the two nations.

Hundreds of people cheered as the 31-year-old prince came out of Kathmandu’s airport. He later met with Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli at his official residence and attended a ceremony hosted by Nepal’s government.

During his trip, Harry will tour areas hit by last year’s devastating earthquake and visit a camp for displaced quake survivors. People are hoping his visit will draw attention to Nepal’s struggle to recover from the disaster.

The April 25, 2015, quake killed nearly 9,000 people, destroyed about 1 million homes and damaged many old temples, palaces and other old structures in Patan and Kathmandu, the capital. Nepalese authorities have been slow to push ahead with rebuilding efforts.

The prince will also stay with a family that includes men who served in the British army’s famed Gurkha regiments, the unit that Harry served with in Afghanistan.

The Gurkhas have served in the British army for 200 years and have a reputation for being brave, tenacious fighters. Thousands of young Nepali men attempt to pass the grueling test to become a Gurkha, but only a few get through.

Harry is the first British royal to visit Nepal since the monarchy was abolished in 2008 following street protests. Since then, the Himalayan country has turned into a republic, with a president chosen by a parliament. The prince will meet with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari during his trip.

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