Today, Malaysia is installing a new Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) and Raja Permaisuri Agong (Queen), after the unprecedented Abdication of Sultan Muhammad V earlier this year, the first since Malaysia’s Independence in 1957, and the acession of Sultan Abdullah Ria’yatuddin Al Mustafa Billah Shah of Pahang and Tunku Azizah Aminah. As the world’s only rotational monarchy, where the Hereditary Rulers of Nine of the Malay States are elected as the King for a 5-year term, they also pass along some Crown Jewels, including this grand Tiara, the Gandik Diraja, which has been worn by all sixteen Queens since 1957, including the new Queen Azizah Aminah at the ceremony today!
When Malaysia gained Independence from the British Empire in 1957, the Malaysian State commissioned the Gandik Diraja for the Raja Permaisuri Agong (Queen), which incorporated several traditional motifs: a central star with a crescent and the swirling “awan larat” design. The current version was remounted from the previous diadem by Garrard in 1984, and can break down into a locket and set of brooches. A necklace, called the the Kalung Diraja, was also made by Garrard in 1989, replacing and older version. The Gandik Diraja and Kalung Diraja were declared items of National Heritage in 2007.
The earlier version of the Gandik Diraja was worn by Tunku Puan Besar Kurshiah from Negeri Sembilan from 1957 to 1960, Tengku Ampuan Jemaah of Selangor in 1960, Raja Perempuan Budriah of Perlis from 1960 to 1965, Tengku Ampuan Tua Intan Zaharah of Terengganu from 1965 to 1970, Sultanah Bahiyah of Kedah from 1970 to 1975, Raja Perempuan Zainab of Kelantan from 1975 to 1979, and Tengku Ampuan Afzan of Pahang (mother of the current King) from 1979 to 1984, when it was remodelled. Click HERE to take a look at the Tiara worn by all Queens.
After the remounting, the Gandik Diraja was worn by Tunku Puan Zanariah of Johor (stepmother of the current Queen) from 1984 to 1989, Raja Permaisuri Bainun of Perak from 1989 to 1994, Tunku Ampuan Najihah of Negeri Sembilan from 1994 to 1999, Permaisuri Siti Aishah of Selangor from 1999 to 2001, Tuanku Fauziah of Perlis from 2001 to 2006, Sultanah Nur Zahirah of Terengganu from 2006 to 2011, and Sultanah Haminah of Kedah from 2011 to 2016, who last wore the Gandik Diraja at her farewell before the Installation of the following King, who did not have a Consort during his Reign. While the various Sultanates have built large jewellery collections, like we saw at the Sultan of Pahang’s Installation earlier this year, the Gandik Diraja is the primary Tiara worn by the Raja Permaisuri Agong during her husband’s term.
In January, the Gandik Diraja has got a new wearer, Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah, who is the Tengku Ampuan (Sultanah) of Pahang and a sister of the Sultan of Johor. She has already worn the Gandik Diraja and Kalung Diraja for official portraits and will no doubt wear it publicly for the first time today.
UPDATE, The Gandik Diraja and Kalung Diraja were worn at the Installation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The various Malaysian Sultanates hold a plethora of glittering events every year and with a Coronation coming up in Japan this year, there is no doubt we will see Queen Azizah Aminah wearing the Gandik Diraja frequently.
More recently, the Tiara was worn for the Malaysian Opening of Parliament in 2023, the Wedding Banquet of Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan, and the King of Malaysia’s Official Birthday in 2023, when a model of the Gandik Diraja was also displayed on the cake.