Malaysia has installed a new British-educated king after the shock abdication of the former monarch to marry a former Russian beauty queen.
Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin of Pahang, 60, who was educated at Sandhurst military academy and Oxford university, and who served on the FIFA Council, football’s highest governing body, was crowned as the 16th Malaysian king on Tuesday in a ceremony steeped in royal tradition.
Malaysia is the only country in the world with an elected monarch, with the heads of nine royal households rotating as king every five years.
Sultan Abdullah, who used his coronation speech to call for an end to racial divisions, acceded the throne after his predecessor stepped down after having served only two years in power.
Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, 49, abdicated in January this year, just months after marrying Oksana Voyevodina, 27, a former Russian beauty queen in a secret ceremony in Barvikha, a ritzy Moscow suburb home to many of Russia’s rich and powerful.
By doing so, he became the first monarch to resign since Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957, and the Istana Negara, the royal palace, refused to reveal any details of his controversial move.
Ms Voyevodina, who was crowned Miss Moscow in 2015, converted to Islam, taking the name Rihana Oksana Petra.