KUALA LUMPUR: It was a resplendent room inside Istana Negara and the interviewee was dressed in an elegant floral baju kurung.
It was none other than the Queen, but Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah was warm and easygoing throughout the two-hour interview.
It was her simple upbringing that made her who she is today, she said, adding that despite growing up as a princess, she had a normal childhood.
“My father was strict with us. We had a normal upbringing, ” she told The Star.
Tunku Azizah is the daughter of the late Johor Ruler Sultan Iskandar ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail and the sister of current Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.
She said she and her husband, Yang di-Pertuan Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had practised a simple lifestyle since they got married 33 years ago.
“Though we are not allowed to do many things, I am lucky that Tuanku does not like protocol and all the restrictions.
“What you see now is what we’re like back home in Pahang, ” she said.
Indeed, the couple has often shown their spontaneity, dispensing with formality when the occasion allows for it.
Tunku Azizah also said she was surprised by the public reaction over the King’s concern for a road accident victim last month.
Pictures of him stopping by the side of the road to check on the accident victim went viral.
Tunku Azizah brushed aside the public attention, saying she could not see what the “big fuss” was about as it was something “we have been doing for many years”.
She even took pictures with her phone during the National Day parade last month, as requested by the King.
The royal couple are often spotted at fast food restaurants, winning the hearts of the people for their approachable manner.
“It’s the way I brought up my children as well. You have to be humble and nice. You also have to be approachable. That is what Tuanku likes, ” said Tunku Azizah.
“That is why, whenever he visits villages or makes the rounds back in Kuantan, there will be petitions and letters, ” she said, referring to numerous requests for financial assistance, scholarships, medical help and even houses.
“You want people to be at ease with you. And to be able to make people be at ease with you, you have to let go and relax, ” she added.