Prince Harry visited the places in Nepal worst affected by the high-intensity earthquakes that occurred in April and May last year. He paid tribute to the victims of the natural disaster as well as to those who showed resilience in slowly recovering from a state of desolation, saying the country holds a “special place” in the imagination of many.

“I’m sure you hear this all the time, but your country holds a special place in the imagination for so many people,” the prince said at a government reception held in Kathmandu. He is on a five-day visit to the country.

He also noted that he wished to see how the local are recovering from the destructions caused by the twin earthquakes that killed more than 8,000 people the first time and more than 200 when it reoccurred. His visit to Nepal comes as the country moves towards its first year anniversary of the grim event.

“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,” the CNN quoted him as saying.

The prince also visited the artisans and apprentices who are trying to restore the royal palace at the Patan Durbar Square, which was badly damaged in the earthquakes. It was a UNESCO World Heritage site which was one of the places worst hit by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April followed by another quake in May.

The prince met Nepal’s first female president, Bidya Devi Bhandari, on Sunday morning. He told her that the flight was long but was worth it nonetheless.

The prince very much enjoyed his meeting with the president,” the BBC quoted a Kensington Palace spokesman. “They had a wide-ranging and friendly conversation, covering earthquake recovery, the importance of tourism, conservation and climate change.”

According to the Department for International Development, UK has donated an amount of £70 million (AU$132 million) to Nepal for earthquake relief and is one of its biggest bilateral donors.