Tribhuvan of Nepal

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Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah
King Tribhuvan in the 1930s
King of Nepal
Coronation20 February 1913
Reign12 December 1911 – 7 November 1950
PredecessorPrithvi Bikram
Reign18 February 1951 – 13 March 1955
Born(1906-06-30)30 June 1906
Kathmandu, Nepal
Died13 March 1955(1955-03-13) (aged 48)
Cantonal Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland
SpouseKanti Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah
Ishwari Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah
(among others)
King Mahendra
Prince Himalaya
Prince Basundhara
Princess Trilokya
Princess Nalini
Princess Vijaya
Princess Bharati
Regnal name
Shree Paanch Maharajadhiraj Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah Dev
DynastyShah dynasty
FatherPrithvi Bir Bikram Shah
MotherDivyeshwari Lakshmi Devi Shah

Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah (Nepali: श्री ५ महाराजाधिराज त्रिभुवन वीर विक्रम शाह देव; 30 June 1906 – 13 March 1955)[1][2] was King of Nepal from 11 December 1911 until his death in 1955. Born in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, he ascended to the throne at the age of five, upon the death of his father, Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah, and was crowned on 20 February 1913 at the Nasal Chowk, Hanuman Dhoka Palace in Kathmandu,[3] with his mother acting as regent.[1] At the time of his crowning, the position of monarch was largely ceremonial, with the real governing power residing with the Rana family.[1]


Crowning of Tribhuvan; aged five

Tribhuvan was born on 30 June 1906 to Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah and Divyeshwari Lakshmi Devi Shah. After the death of his father, Tribhuvan ascended the throne on 11 December 1911, at the age of five. Queen Mother Divyeshwari Lakshmi Devi was appointed regent until Tribhuvan came of age.

He married at age 12 in a double ceremony. He married first at the Narayanhity Palace in March 1919 to Kanti.[4] The same day he also married Ishwari. He also had junior wives.

His first child and successor to the throne, Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, was born when both Tribhuvan and his wife, Queen Kanti Rajya Lakshmi Devi Shah, were just 13 years old, on 11 June 1920.

Later life[edit]

Tensions between the royal family and the Ranas began during World War I. The Ranas wanted to join the war in support of Britain.[5] The Shahs were reluctant and wished to remain neutral. The then prime minister, Chandra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, pressured the young king and threatened his mother, eventually forcing Tribhuvan to order the troops to war.[1]

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 his explicit support, to overthrow the Ranas. In each instance, however, the Ranas responded harshly, banning the liberal movements and executing their leaders.[citation needed] Tribhuvan worked closely with the Praja Parishad to abolish the Rana regime.

King Tribhuwan in 1937

In November 1950, King Tribhuvan took refuge at the Indian Embassy. He was accompanied by his son Mahendra and the eldest grandson Birendra, among others. The then prime minister, 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 Tribhuvan, as the new King of Nepal. On 10 November, two Indian planes landed at Gauchar Airport (now called Tribhuvan International Airport) and the royal family fled to New Delhi excluding the infant King, Gyanendra. Tribhuvan was formally welcomed by Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and other high officials.[citation needed]

The removal of the king led to huge demonstrations in the country that compelled the Rana prime minister, Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana to negotiate with Tribhuvan and the Nepali Congress. On 22 November 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.[citation needed]

When Mohan Shumsher saw that the situation was out of his control, he sent the king's brother-in-law,[citation needed] 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 the Nepali Congress and the Rana Government all sat together to discuss the situation. At last an agreement was reached according in which King Tribhuvan was to form a new ministry, under his leadership, consisting of the Nepali Congress and the Ranas on an equal basis.

Tribhuvan then flew back to Nepal, along with the members of the Royal family and the leaders of the Congress Party on 15 February 1951. On 18 February 1951, 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 Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana continued as the prime minister for a few more months.

Congress Rana Government[edit]

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

From the Rana clan:

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

From the Nepali Congress side:

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.[7]


Tribhuvan died in 1955 in Zurich, Switzerland. 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.


Children born to primary wives[edit]

King Tribhuvan had two official wives who were crowned queen consorts:




He is a descendant of popular personalities such as Maharaja Jang Bahadur Kunwar Ranaji, Kaji Tularam Pande, Sardar Ramakrishna Kunwar and Kaji General Amar Singh Thapa.


  1. ^ a b c d Harris M. Lentz (2014). Heads of States and Governments Since 1945. Routledge. p. 571. ISBN 9781134264902.
  2. ^ नेपालको शाह तथा राणा वंशावली: विष्णु प्रसाद श्रेष्ठ
  3. ^ "National Archives NextGen Catalog". Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  4. ^ King Tribhuvan and Queen Kanti Archived 10 May 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Hundred years on". Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  6. ^ " Nepali Congress Official website – Political party of Nepal". Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Google Groups". Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  8. ^ informatici, Segretariato generale della Presidenza della Repubblica – Servizio sistemi. "Le onorificenze della Repubblica Italiana". Retrieved 8 September 2018.
Tribhuvan of Nepal
Born: 30 June 1906 Died: 13 March 1955
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Nepal
Succeeded by
Preceded by King of Nepal
Succeeded by