Few dramas can match what happened at Nepal's Narayanhity Palace on the first night of June, 2001, when gunshots rang out, leaving most of the royal family dead.
Crown Prince Dipendra shot and killed nine members his family and himself. His parents apparently objected to his plans to marry local aristocrat Devyani Rana.
They had reportedly threatened to disinherit him if he did so, and there has been speculation that this conflict between love and duty is what caused his rampage. Rana reportedly comes from a lower clan of nobility in India, and her great-grandmother was also said once to have been a mistress to a member of the Nepalese royal family.
The public rioted for several days after the massacre, incredulous that the carefree prince once known as "Dippy" could be responsible for the violence. There was also speculation that the slain king's unpopular brother Gyanendra, who is now Nepal's monarch, was responsible for the tragedy.
New reports have also emerged ultimately blaming Devyani. They say to placate his parents, Dipendra had agreed to their plan for him to marry another girlfriend and keep Devyani as a mistress. But Devyani reportedly rejected that plan.
Devyani is now in hiding in Europe, and refusing to come home. Without her presence, many questions remain unanswered.
Shortly after the carnage, the new king opened a two-member official commission to understand what happened.
This is a timeline of events, based on what the commission found:
7:30 p.m.: His Royal Highness Crown Prince Dipendra arrives at the locale of a regularly scheduled family gathering.
He plays billiards by himself for some time in the palace billiard room, and drinks one or two pegs of Famous Grouse whisky.
8:00 p.m.: Dipendra leaves the area and heads to pick up the Queen Mother to take her to the gathering. They return, and the Queen Mother stops to talks to Princess Helen Shaha in a small chamber east of the billiard hall. The crown prince returns to the billiards room.
8:12 p.m.: The crown prince talks to Devyani Rana for 1 minute l4 seconds, according to telecommunications records.
8:19 p.m.: The crown prince calls an aide by mobile phone to get him some cigarettes. They are "a special kind of cigarette prepared with a mixture of hashish and another unnamed black substance as per an order." The aide gives them to Prince Paras to give to the crown prince.
Several people see the crown prince in the billiards room "swaying, unable to hold himself upright." There is suspicion that the prince was drunk from the whiskey, and four guests, including Prince Nirajan and Prince Paras help him to his room.
8.25 p.m.: Rana calls the prince's aides after speaking with him. She says she noticed his speech was slurred, and urged his aides to check on him.
The crown prince's aides reach his room and find him prone on the ground trying to undo the clothing on the upper part of his body. They help him take off the clothing and he goes to the bathroom.
One of the aides hears retching noises coming from the bathroom. After coming out of the bathroom the crown prince orders them both to go to their respective rooms to sleep.
8:30 p.m.: King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev arrives on foot from his office. He proceeds to meet other guests in the billiard room.
8.39 p.m.: The Crown Prince talks to Devyani Rana for 32 seconds. The Crown Prince tells her "I am now about to sleep … good night, we'll talk tomorrow."
After the phone call, the crown prince puts on army fatigues — black army boots, a camouflage army jacket and trousers, black leather gloves, black stockings and a camouflage vest.
He comes out of the bed chamber with weapons. One of his aides sees him and asks, "shall the emergency bag be brought sire?" The Crown Prince replies "it's not necessary now." The crown prince then proceeds to the billiard hall.
Billiard Room 1: At the billiard hall, he fires at the ceiling and west wall with a 9 mm Caliber MP-5K automatic sub-machine gun. He also aims and fires at the king who is standing near the east end of the billiard table talking to others.
Dipendra then steps out of the billiard room and throws one of his guns near the stairs to the north of the inner garden edge, east of the hall.
Billiard Room 2: Dipendra enters the billiard room again, shooting at the king, his brother-inlaw Gorakh, his uncles Dhirendra and Khadga. Gorakh is wounded, the King, Dhirendra and Khadaga are killed.
Billiard Room 3: Dipendra moves back to the door, and forward again, firing indiscriminately a third time. Among others, he hits his sister and Gorakh's wife, Princess Shruti; Khadaga's wife Princess Sharada; his aunt Shanti and a cousin, Princess Jayanti. They are all killed.
Chasing the Last Victims: Prince Nirajan and Queen Aishwarya leave the billiard room and head toward the inner garden. Dipendra also leaves the billiard hall and goes east toward the inner garden.
Nirajan is found by palace officials unconscious near the garden and delivered to the hospital. He is pronounced dead on arrival at 9:15.
The queen's body is found in the staircase leading to the prince's room. She is pronounced dead on arrival at 9:15.
Denouement:The crown prince is found lying on his back on a bridge over a little pond near his room. A 9mm caliber Glock pistol, believed to have belonged to the prince, is found in the water of the pond. An M-16 rifle believed to have belonged to the prince is also found nearby.
The crown prince reaches the hospital at 9:24 P.M. on June 1, 2001, and is pronounced dead at 5:57 p.m. at the hospital on June 4.