Queen Ratna of Nepal

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Queen Ratna
Queen Ratna of Nepal 1967.jpg
Queen Ratna in 1967
Queen consort of Nepal
Reign 13 March 1955 – 31 January 1972
Coronation 2 May 1956
Predecessor Kanti
Successor Aishwarya
Born (1928-08-19) 19 August 1928 (age 89)
Hari Bhawan, Bagmati, Kathmandu, Nepal
Spouse Mahendra of Nepal
Full name
Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah
House Rana dynasty (by birth)
Shah dynasty (by marriage)
Father Hari Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana
Mother Megha Kumari Rajya Lakshmi
Religion Hinduism

Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah (born 19 August 1928) was Queen consort of Nepal from 1955 to 1972 and Queen Mother from 1972 to 2008 when the royal family were stripped of all titles and privileges.

She is the second wife of King Mahendra of Nepal (1920–1972). Queen Ratna belongs to the aristocratic Rana family and is the daughter of late Honorary General Hari Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and his wife, Megha Kumari Rajya Lakshmi.

Queen Ratna in Netherlands on 25 April 1967 with Prince Bernhard.


Ratna's older sister Indra had married Crown Prince Mahendra in 1940 but died in 1950. Two years later, Ratna married Mahendra.[1] There were no children by this marriage as the new queen was sterilised to avoid succession problems;[2] Mahendra already had three sons and three daughters with Indra. She became Queen Consort after Mahendra's father King Tribhuvan died in 1955.

In 1972, Mahendra suffered a fatal heart attack while hunting in Chitwan National Park. His oldest son, Prince Birendra took over[3] as Queen Ratna became Queen Mother.

Name Ratna means "Jewel" or "Gem".[4]

On the evening of June 1, 2001- when the Nepalese royal massacre took place - the Queen Mother was sitting with her sister-in-law Princess Helen Shah in the anteroom, and thus survived. The two women heard the gunshots but did not take them seriously. A few minutes later, Prince Paras came and told them that the Crown Prince Dipendra had shot everybody, including the King.[5]

The monarchy was abolished in 2008. All members of the royal family had to leave the Narayanhity Palace, with the exception of the Queen Mother. The former Queen Mother Ratna was allowed to stay in Mahendra Manzil, her house in the Narayanhity Palace, where she is still living.[6]

King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev and Queen Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah in their coronation on 2 May 1956.

Public work[edit]

  • Colonel in Chief Corps of Artillery (2 May 1956).[7]
  • Nepal Children’s Organisation (Bal Mandir).[8]

The former Queen Mother was famous for her social work helping children in Nepal. The Nepalese monarchy was abolished in 2008 after the Constituent Assembly election.[9]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 1928 – 1952: Lady Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Devi.
  • 1952 – 1955: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Nepal.
  • 1955 – 1972: Her Majesty The Queen of Nepal.
  • 1972 – 2001: Her Majesty The Queen Mother of Nepal.
  • 1–4 June 2001: Her Majesty The Queen Grandmother of Nepal.[citation needed]
  • 4 June 2001 – 2008: Her Majesty The Queen Mother of Nepal.
  • 2008 – present: Her Majesty Queen Mother Ratna of Nepal (titular).


National honours[edit]

  • Nepal Pratap Bhaskara (25 December 1966).
  • Order of Ojaswi Rajanya, 1st class (1964).[10]
  • Tribhuvan Order of the Footprint of Democracy, 1st class (2 May 1956).
  • Order of the Footprint of Nepal, 1st class (16 December 1962).
  • Order of Om Rama Patta, 1st class.[11]
  • Ati Suvikhyata Sewalankar [Renowned Service Medal].
  • King Mahendra Investiture Medal (2 May 1956).
  • King Birendra Investiture Medal (24 February 1975).
  • Commemorative Silver Jubilee Medal of King Birendra (31 January 1997).
  • King Gyanendra Investiture Medal (4 June 2001).

Foreign honours[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Royal Ark
  2. ^ Jane Wilson-Howarth (2012). A Glimpse of Eternal Snows: a journey of love and loss in the Himalayas. Bradt Travel Guides, UK. p. 390. ASIN B009S7FHU4. ISBN 978-1-84162-435-8. 
  3. ^ Swift, Dusty (2011-05-10). Illusions of Enlightenment: A Story about a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal and His Discovery of the Buddhist Teachings. iUniverse. ISBN 9781450290654. 
  4. ^ Baby girl names
  5. ^ Himalaya
  6. ^ Indian Express
  7. ^ a b The Royal House of Shah. Royal Ark. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.
  8. ^ Her Majesty Queen Mother Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah. Nepal Royal (19 August 1928). Retrieved on 2015-04-27.
  9. ^ "South Asia | Vote to abolish Nepal's monarchy". BBC News. 28 December 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Omsa.org
  11. ^ Getty Images
  12. ^ Benelux Royal Archived 28 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Iran. Host to the World Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.. Badraie. Retrieved on 27 April 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Queen Consort of Nepal
Succeeded by