Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was King of Nepal from 1955 to 1972. Mahendra was born 11 June 1920 to King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal. Although Tribhuvan was nominally king since 1911. Mahendra was captive in Narayanhity Royal Palace, virtually a gilded cage. In 1940 he married Indra Rajya Lakshmi Devi, daughter of General Hari Shamsher Rana. They had three sons, Birendra, Gyanendra, Dhirendra and three daughters Shanti, Sharada, and Shobha.
Crown Princess Indra died in 1950. In 1952, Mahendra married Indra’s younger sister, Ratna Rajya Lakshmi Devi. This marriage produced no children. Meanwhile, popular discontent and the British withdrawal from India in 1947 had made Rana rule increasingly untenable. In 1950 the political situation had deteriorated so far that the personal safety of the royals was in doubt.
Tribhuvan and most of his family escaped to India. Open revolt ensued and by the end of the year the Ranas agreed to a coalition government under Tribhuvan in which they shared power equally with the Nepali Congress Party. By the end of the year the Ranas were manoeuvred out and Nepal’s first experiment with democratic government under constitutional monarchy was underway. Tribhuvan’s health was poor and he died in 1955.