Permaisuri of Johor expresses sadness over the passing of Queen Elizabeth II

LONDON: The Permaisuri of Johor, Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah expressed sadness over the passing of British monarch Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96 at her residence in Balmoral, Scotland.

Raja Zarith is currently on a short break in the United Kingdom and had been following news of the Queen’s health on the British media closely.

“I feel the sense of sadness of the British people and I listened to the announcement on television with disbelief,” said Raja Zarith about the longest reigning British monarch in the history of the country.

The reporting of the queen’s health took on a sombre tone towards the evening (UK time) as her children and other members of the royal family started arriving in Balmoral in the late afternoon.

The queen’s health had been a concern of late with the palace reporting on her “issues of mobility” since her absence from public duties.

Raja Zarith was 18 years old when she met Queen Elizabeth II at a reception at Buckingham Palace in 1978. She had just sat for her Oxbridge examinations and had been accepted by Somerville College, University of Oxford.

“The then Malaysian High Commissioner (to the United Kingdom), Datuk Abdullah Ali, invited me to be part of the Malaysian High Commission group to attend a reception at Buckingham Palace in 1978, for the High Commissions of the Commonwealth countries. I was very much aware I was just one of many people who were there. I was in awe and felt most nervous as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh made their way to our little Malaysian group but at the same time, I felt it was all unreal.”

As the Permaisuri of Johor, Raja Zarith met Prince Charles who is now King Charles III, at St James’s Palace in 2012 during the reception of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) being granted a Royal Charter and again when he visited Malaysia with his wife Camilla in 2017.

Since then, the two royal households had kept in touch and Camilla the Queen Consort had recently written for a meeting should the Permaisuri of Johor visit London.

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