Queen Aishwarya of Nepal was born as Lady Aishwarya Rajya Laxmi on 7 November 1949 in Lazimpat Durbar, Kathmandu. Aishwarya was the daughter of General Kendra Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana and Shree Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah. Her family was from the former ruling Rana dynasty of Nepal. She would later meet a tragic end at the hands of her son.
She was educated in India and Nepal. Her university education was completed at Padmakanya College, where she earned a degree in art in 1967.
Aishwarya married her second cousin, the then Crown Prince Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev in 1970. Her sister also married into the family. She became Queen Consort when her husband took the throne upon the death of his father, King Mahendra, in 1972. She was known to be outspoken and energetic with a classical beauty. The Queen was even a published poet and composer of music.
As someone who was well-aware that her family had ruled the Kingdom of Nepal in the past, she was in favour of an absolute monarchy and was very anti-democracy. She used her influence on her husband to convince him to continue the absolute monarchy until 1990 when democracy finally came to the Asian kingdom. King Birendra did not want absolute power and only wanted to rule as written in a constitutional monarchy. It has been said she became less influential over time with her husband, whose popularity increased the longer he was on the throne.
With King Birendra, she had three children: Crown Prince Dipendra, Princess Shruti and Prince Nirajan.
Tragedy struck the Nepalese Royal Family on 1 June 2001; the King and Queen’s son, the Crown Prince, shot and killed his parents, siblings, aunts and other family members on the grounds of the Narayanhity Royal Palace. He had gotten drunk during a family dinner, and his drunken actions resulted in his father having him leave and escorted to his room (his cousin later claimed the Crown Prince was only pretending to be drunk so that he would get kicked out). An hour later, he returned with a combat shotgun (SPAS-12), and he began to assassinate his family. He had a bag that contained other weapons like an M16, as well.
He shot his father first before leaving the room. He returned with the M16 to see his family trying to save his father. The Crown Prince went to finish the job, but his uncle, Prince Dhirendra, intervened which resulted in the death of his uncle. He began killing other members of his family, and after shooting his brother-in-law, his sister, Princess Shruti attempted to come to his aid, but not before being fatally shot by her older brother.
It was said that Queen Aishwarya bravely followed her son out of the room to attempt to get him to stop the killing. He killed his younger brother in front of his mother. Aishwarya then shouted, “You have killed your father, you have killed your brother, kill me too,” and he then turned the gun on her. She attempted to flee, but he shot her numerous times in the neck and back in the garden of the palace. He then crossed a bridge on the grounds and shot himself which critically wounded him. While in the hospital, he fell into a coma but was declared king. He had a short reign, which ended with his death three days later.
In total, ten died in the massacre. Queen Aishwarya was just 51.