Wed, Nov 17, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Last single Malaysian crown prince gets hitched

AP , KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysia's last bachelor crown prince married a Thai science graduate in a traditional Muslim ceremony witnessed by royal dignitaries from both countries and dubbed a fairytale wedding by the local media.

Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra Sultan Ismail Petra, 35, who is next in line to be the sultan of northeastern Kelantan state, wedded Kangsadal Pipitpakdee, 23, at Kelantan's royal palace late Monday in glittering rites known as "akad nikah," or the solemnizing of marriage.

The prince recited a sacred oath of marriage in front of a senior cleric and then exchanged rings with Kangsadal, who is the daughter of Viroj Pinitpakdee, a former member of Parliament from the southern Thai province of Pattani.

Thailand's Queen Sirikit, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai were among the guests at the wedding in Kelantan, a staunchly Islamic state that borders southern Thailand.

Other details were not immediately available because media outlets were barred from the ceremony.

However, preparations for the event electrified Kelantan's residents and received wide coverage. The Star newspaper called it a "fairytale wedding," while the New Straits Times announced that Tengku Faris would be a "royal bachelor no more."

Tengku Faris was Malaysia's last remaining unmarried crown prince. Nine of the country's 13 states have sultans as ceremonial rulers who take turns to be the king of Malaysia.

Kangsadal, also a Muslim, took the name of Tengku Zubaidah following the wedding. She received a crash course on local customs and royal life over the past three months.

The couple reportedly met two years ago at a wedding in Bangkok.

Banners proclaiming the occasion lined the streets of Kelantan's capital, Kota Bahru. Some roads were closed to the public to ensure that VIP vehicles could proceed smoothly to the palace.

Kangsadal was raised in Pattani, one of three Muslim provinces in predominantly Buddhist Thailand. She later furthered her studies at Bangkok's Mahidol University.

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