When Krishna Shumshere Rana, then stationed at the Royal Nepalese Embassy in London, decided to visit Norway in 1938, war clouds were gathering over Europe. The embassy sent a letter to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry in Oslo saying this was a private visit, but reminded the Norwegians that the diplomat was also the son of Nepal’s prime minister, Chandra Shumshere.
Always accommodating, the Norwegians offered to set up an audience with King Haakon. The embassy replied that Krishna Shumshere and his wife were visiting Norway as tourists and ‘did not want any fuss’. However, the letter went on to hint that the couple could be invited to dinner with the king, reminding the Norwegians that the diplomat and his wife would only eat food prepared by their own chef.
Cited in the book Across Borders: A Story of Norway-Nepal Relationships, by Marit Bakke, the reader doesn’t learn if the dinner eventually happened, or even if the visit took place, but the condition could have been prompted by the Rana couple trying to ensure that no beef would be served at the royal table.
Bakke’s book is being released to mark 40 years since establishment of diplomatic relations between Norway and Nepal, and contains many such interesting anecdotes. The first recorded trip by a Norwegian to Nepal was by Robert Bergsaker, who travelled to Tansen in 1949 to set up the hospital there with Robert Fleming, the missionary and famous birder.