Nepal: Marriage of Convenience

No one in the mile-high Nepalese capital of Katmandu has ever forgotten the lavish coronation of bean-shaped King Mahendra in 1956, when the tiny Himalayan country imported 40 taxicabs, 130 Indian waiters, and everything from pastel bathtubs to Coca-Cola. Now the Nepalese are at it again, this time with a well-publicized royal wedding, billed as one of the most lavish Hindu nuptial ceremonies in history.

The wedding had to be fit for a future king—and god. The bridegroom was Mahendra's son, Crown Prince Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Deva, 24. He will not...

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