Prince Harry kicks off Nepal tour with a heart-warming message for locals

Ainhoa Barcelona

Prince Harry has touched down in Nepal for the start of his four-day tour. This is the royal's first visit to the country and judging by the cheery wave and warm smile he gave to onlookers as he arrived in Kathmandu, Harry was on excellent form.

During his visit, the 31-year-old will see various recovery projects following last year's tragic earthquake. Harry, who holds the military rank of Captain Henry Wales, also wants to pay a personal tribute to the Gurkhas for their 200 years of service to the Crown.

He was welcomed by Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli on Saturday with a traditional namaste greeting, after which Harry was invited to the stage to address guests at a Nepali government reception.

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Prince Harry will see various recovery projects following last year's tragic earthquake

The Queen's grandson praised his host country, saying that he hoped he could "shine a spotlight" on the resilience of locals, while also show people back home that the country is "open for business". Nepal's economy partly relies on tourism but travellers have yet to return en masse following the earthquake.

"I'm sure you hear this all the time, but your country holds a special place in the imagination for so many people," said Harry.

"I know that I arrive in Nepal as you approach the first anniversary of the earthquakes that took so many lives. I pay my respects to those who perished and hope to do what I can to shine a spotlight on the resilience of the Nepali people.

"I want to show all those around the world who want to help that this country is open for business."

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"I'm sure you hear this all the time, but your country holds a special place in the imagination for so many people," said Harry

The Prince concluded by saying that he "couldn't wait" to explore and "see all that this country has to offer".

During his stay, Harry will see how the region and locals are recovering almost one year after the April 2015 earthquake killed 9,000 people.

The Prince, who served alongside 1st Bn Royal Gurkha Rifles in Afghanistan in 2008, will also have the chance to deepen his understanding of the Nepali army and the famed Gurkhas. He will travel to the Pokhara region where he will spend the night as the house guest of an 86-year-old widow, whose late husband served with the Gurkhas.

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The Prince concluded by saying that he "couldn't wait" to explore

A palace spokesperson said: "Having served alongside Gurkhas Prince Harry has a huge amount of respect for them and admires the strength and resilience of the Nepali people as a whole.

"This will be a chance for him to really understand the culture of the people he has served with in the Army, a chance to fulfil a personal desire to understand more about where these men come from, their background, upbringing and motivation. It will also mark a moment of personal gratitude to the Gurkhas for their service to the Crown."

Other highlights of Harry's tour include visiting the ancient palaces and temples of Kathmandu, white-water rafting, seeing tigers in the Bardia National Park and taking part in the colourful Holi festival.

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