Happy Birthday to Cik Puan Besar (Queen Dowager) Kalsom of Pahang, who turns 70 today! The consort of one of the most illustrious Malay States for almost three decades, Sultanah Kalsom has worn many splendid Tiaras, the most illustrious and spectacular of which is the Beauchamp Pearl and Diamond Tiara!
Originally of Persian and Pakistani descent, the then Anita Abdullah worked as an air stewardess for a prominent airline before she married Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Abu Bakar Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mu’adzam Shah of Pahang in 1992, taking the title of Sultanah Kalsom as a Consort of non-royal descent. Sultanah Kalsom is involved in a number charitable activities across Malaysia, including those combating domestic violence and promoting childhood development and female empowerment, and is also the patron of a “Tiger Ball” that raises money for protecting endangered tigers across Asia. The Sultan and Sultanah had one son, Tengku Abdul Fahd Mu’adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah, and were married until his death in 2019, just months after his abdication, and the accession of her son, Sultan Abdullah, as King of Malaysia. After becoming a widow, Sultanah Kalsom was given the title of Cik Puan Besar (Queen Dowager) of Pahang.
Featuring three pear-shaped, hanging pearls in an ornate Belle Epoque Frame, this spectacular Tiara is likely a 19th century Heirloom of the Lygon Family, and was among the Beauchamp Family Heirlooms gifted to Lady Lettice Grosvenor when she married the controversial 7th Earl Beauchamp in 1902 (their family inspired the Marchmain Family in Brideshead Revisited). Their daughter-in-law, the fabulous Mona, Countess Beauchamp, was notably pictured in the Tiara at a Gala Performance at Covent Garden during the French State Visit in 1939. Mona was the last Countess Beauchamp and after her death in 1989 the Family Seat of Madresfield went to a niece while the Tiara was soon sold off.
The buyer was none other than Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah of Pahang, who married the former Air Hostess in 1991, and the new Sultanah Kalsom wore the Beauchamp Pearl and Diamond Tiara for countless events over the next 28 years, for Birthday Parties, Galas, and Weddings, usually perched low on her forehead.
Despite the spectacular size of the, or in spite of it, Sultanah Kalsom mainly preferred her other Tiaras, usually a much smaller diamond version, for Gala Occasions, and in recent years but lets hope tit is worn by a Pahang Prince too sometime zoom. We wish HH a very Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns!