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Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah
King Tribhuvan of Nepal
Preceded by Prithvi Bikram
Succeeded by Gyanendra
Preceded by Gyanendra
Succeeded by Mahendra
Personal details
Born (1903-06-30)30 June 1903
Kathmandu, Nepal
Died 13 March 1955(1955-03-13) (aged 51)
Canton Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland
Spouse(s) Kanti Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah
Ishwari Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah
Religion Hindu

Tribhuwan Bir Bikram Shah(त्रिभुवन वीर विक्रम शाह), (June 23, 1903 – March 13, 1955) was King of Nepal from 11 December 1911 until his death (not considering his exile from 7 November 1950 to 18 February 1951). Born in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, he ascended to the throne at the age of eight, upon the death of his father, King Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah, and crowned on 20 February 1913 at the Nasal Chowk, Hanuman Dhoka Palace in Kathmandu, with his mother acting as regent. At the time, however, the position of monarch was mainly titular, with real power in the country residing in the powerful, conservative Rana family, which supplied the country with its hereditary prime minister. The Rana period is known for the tyranny, debauchery, economic exploitation and religious persecution by the rulers.[1][2]


King Tribhuvan was born on June 23, 1903 to Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah and Queen Divyeshwari Lakshmi Devi Shah. After the death of his father, Tribhuvan Bir Birkarm Shah ascended the throne on December 11, 1911, at the age of eight. Queen Mother Divyeshwari Lakshmi Devi was appointed the regent until King Tribhuvan would come to his age. In a double ceremony, he married first at the Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu, March 1919, H.M. Svasti Sri Ojaswi Rajanya Sri Sri Sri Sri Sri Sriman Maharajadhiraja Patta Rajninam Bada Maharani Kanti Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shahanam Sada Saubhajnabatinam (H.M. Queen Kanti).[3] The same day he also married her sister, H.M. Svasti Sri Ojawsi-Rajanya Sri Sri Sri Sri Sri Sriman Maharajadhiraja Patta Rajninam Kancha Maharani Ishwari Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shahanam Sada Saubhajnabatinam (H.M. Queen Ishwari). Both were full sisters (in an arranged custom in their young age). He also had junior wives.

King Tribhuvan had three sons and thirteen daughters. They include:

  • 1) H.M. Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah, King of Nepal (by Queen Kanti) born in 1920.
  • 2) H.R.H. Prince Himalaya Pratap Bir Bikram Shah, GCMG, GBE (by Queen Kanti) born in 1921.
  • 3) H.R.H. Prince Basundhara Bir Bikram Shah, GCMG (by Queen Ishwari) born in 1921.

The daughters include:

  • 1) H.R.H. Princess Trilokya Rajya Lakshmi Devi (by Queen Kanti) born in 1923.
  • 2) H.R.H. Princess Nalini Rajya Lakshmi Devi (H.R.H. the Rani Sahiba of Poonch) (by Queen Ishwari) born in 1925.
  • 3) H.R.H. Princess Vijaya Rajya Lakshmi Devi (by Queen Kanti) born in 1925.
  • 4) H.R.H. Princess Bharati Rajya Lakshmi Devi (H.R.H. the Rajmata of Mayurbhanj) (by Queen Kanti) born in 1927.

Children of junior wives include:

  • 5) Rajkumari Rajya Lakshmi Devi.
  • 6) Rajkumari Divyeshwari Rajya Lakshmi Devi (Dr. Dibya Shree Malla).
  • 7) Rajkumari Praja Rajya Lakshmi Devi.
  • 8) Rajkumari Achala Rajya Lakshmi Devi.
  • 9) Rajkumari Tika Rajya Lakshmi Devi.
  • 10) Rajkumari Bimala Rajya Lakshmi Devi.

Three unnamed daughters of King Tribhuvan perished during the Great earthquake, at the Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu, 15 January 1934.[4]

Later life


King Tribhuvan

Tensions between the royal family and the Ranas came to a head during World War I. The Ranas wanted to join the war in support of Britain, which controlled India to the south. The prime minister, HH Maharaja Sri Chandra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana always had his way with the young king, who eventually ordered the troops to go to war.

By the mid-1930s, popular discontent with the Ranas led to the establishment of several movements, notably the Nepal Praja Parishad, to which Tribhuvan himself gave explicit support, to overthrow the Ranas. In each instance, however, the Ranas responded harshly, banning the liberal movements and executing their leadership.

King Tribhuwan in 1937 AD

King Tribhuvan worked closely with Praja Parishad to abolish the Rana regime. In November, 1950, King Tribhuvan took refuge at the Indian Embassy in a campaign aimed at removing the Rana oligarchy from power, which had ruled Nepal for more than a century. He was accompanied by his son Mahendra and the eldest grandson Birendra, among others. Prime Minister Sir Tin Maharaja, Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana became furious and responded to Tribhuvan's move by calling an emergency meeting of the cabinet on 7 November 1950 at Singha Durbar. In that meeting he announced Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah, the four-year-old grandson of King Tribhuvan as the new King of Nepal. In the afternoon, on the same day, Prince Gyandendra Bir Bikram Shah was brought to Hanuman Dhoka Palace and crowned as the king of Nepal.[5] On 10 November, two Indian planes landed at Gauchar Airport and flew back to New Delhi with the Royal family excluding the infant King, Gyanendra. King Tribhuvan was formally welcomed by the Indian prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and other high officials. The removal of the king led to huge demonstrations in the country that compelled the Rana prime minister, Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana to come into negotiations with Tribhuvan and the Nepali Congress. On November 22, 1950, Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, officially announced that India was not going to recognize Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah as the legitimate King of Nepal. When Mohan Shumsher saw that the situation was out of his control, he sent the king's brother-in-law,[6] Sir Kaiser Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and Bijaya Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana to New Delhi for peace talks. In New Delhi, King Tribhuvan, representatives of Nepali Congress and of the Rana Government all sat together to discuss the situation. At last an agreement was reached according to which King Tribhuvan to form a new ministry, under his leadership, consisting of the Nepali Congress and the Ranas on an equal basis, King Tribhuvan flew back to Nepal, along with the members of the Royal family and the leaders of the Congress Party on 15 February 1951. On February 18, 1951, King Tribhuvan returned from India as the monarch. Three days after the return, Tribhuvan formally declared an end to Rana's family rule and established a democratic system, but Mohan Shamsher continued as a prime minister for a few more months.

Congress Rana Government

According to the New Delhi Agreement, King Tribhuvan announced on 13 February 1951, a cabinet headed by Sir Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana. The followings were the members of the Cabinet.

From the Rana clan:

  • 1. Sir Mohan Shamsher – Prime minister and Foreign Affairs.
  • 2. Sir Baber Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana- (younger brother of Mohan Shamsher; was in line for the next premiership) – Defence.
  • 3. Chudraj Shamsher – ("B" class Rana representative) – Forests.
  • 4. Nripa Janga Rana – ("C" class Rana representative) – Education.
  • 5. Yagya Bahadur Basnyat – (Rana Bhardar) – Health and Local self-government.

From the Nepali Congress side:

  • 1. Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala – Home.[7]
  • 2. Subarna Shamsher Rana- (even though a Rana, he represented the Nepali Congress) – Finance.
  • 3. Ganesh Man Singh – Commerce and Industry
  • 4. Bharatmani Sharma – Food and Agriculture
  • 5. Bhadrakali Mishra – Transport.[8]

This cabinet was reshuffled on 10 June 1951 to replace Baber Shamsher by Shangha Shamsher and Bharatmani Sharma by Surya Prasad Upadhyaya. This cabinet was dissolved in November 1951 and MP Koirala became the new Prime Minister.[9]


King Tribhuvan died in 1955 in Zürich, Switzerland, under mysterious circumstances. He was aged 52. He was succeeded by his eldest legitimate son Mahendra.

The international airport in Kathmandu, Tribhuvan International Airport, the oldest highway in Nepal Tribhuvan Highway, the 2nd oldest association football tournament in Nepal, Tribhuvan Challenge Shield, a city, Tribhuvannagar in Dang valley, and the country's largest university (Tribhuvan University) are named after him.


National orders
Foreign Honours


Tribhuvan of Nepal
Born: 30 June 1903 Died: 13 March 1955
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Nepal
Succeeded by
Preceded by
King of Nepal
Succeeded by

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