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Myanmar's lost royals

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More than a century after Burma's king was banished, his descendants are stepping into the spotlight again - and raising the question whether his remains should be taken from their resting place in a foreign country and reburied at home, says Alex Bescoby.
In the grey dark before dawn in Ratnagiri, a sleepy seaside town on the remote west coast of India, I stand in what's usually a quiet and forgotten corner of this already unremarkable place.
Today, however, is different.
Secret service agents from India and Myanmar, also known as Burma, criss-cross each other whispering into sleeves, wearing the obligatory dark glasses, even though the sun has yet to rise.
Burmese in formal dress argue in hushed tones over where and how to seat Myanmar's five most senior holy men, its vice president and its highest-ranking soldier, whose arrival by naval helicopter is imminent.
I almost trip over an Indian policeman's hand-held minesweeper, then pirouette around his trailing sniffer dog.
A rising murmur causes me to turn around - a line of white ghosts is advancing up the dirt road towards me.
The spectres start to wave and smile as they draw closer.
For a long time, these people have been almost invisible. This is Myanmar's royal family, dressed in white, the traditional Burmese colour of mourning.



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