Back in 2013, Kiwi artiste Lorde released a song entitled Royals, and the chorus goes as such: “And we’ll never be royals, it [don’t] run in our blood.” The verse ends with a final, “Let me live that fantasy,” and frankly, that term alone best describes the ambience, or rather, the perception that has surrounded most royal families to ever be known to the public. Almost everybody dreams of becoming a royal, and watches with rose-tinted glasses at those who carry such titles, being given the royal treatment or taking the royal road in life. Stories surrounding royalty take the nation by storm and make quick headlines often (i.e. the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wedding that hasn’t stopped trending, or the abdication of our Agong), and we can readily admit that the curiosity can never be satiated.
Hence, we attempt to alleviate, or shed some light on the lives of Malaysian royals by first speaking to Tunku Dara Tunku Tan Sri Naquiah (or Tunku Dara for short) and Dato’ Indera Tunku Syazwan Kaiyisah Tunku Kamil Ikram, or Tunku Kaiyisah.
As the daughter of Tuanku Ja’afar Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the tenth Yang di-Pertuan Agong, as well as the tenth Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan—therefore making him the longest serving ruler of 41 years—Tunku Dara is a real-life princess. She was born in the palace, as those days only allowed for a midwife. Her father, who served as a diplomat before he became a ruler travelled regularly to open missions, starting from New York, then London, Cairo and Nigeria. However, just before his posting to Japan, he was called back. “His brother, Tunku Munawir, who was the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, passed away,” explained Tunku Dara, “and instead of giving the throne to the son who was under 18, they gave it to his younger brother. So, my father became the tenth Yang di-Pertuan Besar, and then the tenth Agong as well."