JOHOR BARU - Palace staff who looked after Princess Tunku Tun Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah when she was young will be among the guests invited to her upcoming wedding to Dutch-born Dennis Muhammad Abdullah on Aug 14, the Royal Press Office said in a release on Saturday (Aug 5).
"These are the people I grew up with and they are very special to me. I want all of them to be at my wedding to share in my happiness," the princess, 31, was quoted as saying.
The palace workers include stable boys who taught the princess how to ride a horse, drivers who drove her to school and Johor Military Force (JMF) soldiers and bodyguards who protected the royal family. They have looked after the princess since her formative years and have a "special place" in her heart, the press release said.
They will be among royalty, politicians, senior state officials and prominent businessmen invited to the wedding, which the palace had earlier said will be steeped in the royal family's traditions and customs.
Tunku Tun Aminah, the only daughter of Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, grew up with her five brothers at Istana Pasir Pelangi.
"The drivers and bodyguards who ferried me around would remind me that I was the only princess, and advised me to be good. Every afternoon after school, I would be with my brothers and we would play with the stable boys. We would eat together at the stable 'warong' (stall).
"In addition to the stable boys, I am also inviting all the other staff who looked after us. They were all part of my childhood and they taught me the values of dedicated service, loyalty and kindness," the princess said.
Each of the long-serving staff will receive a special commemorative wedding souvenir personally designed by the princess.
Mr Adnan Othman, a 45-year-old horse trainer and player for the Royal Johor Polo Club said: "I had goosebumps... it felt like a dream. I still can't believe Tunku Aminah actually gave me an invitation to her wedding."
He said he has known the princess since she was five years old, adding that she started taking up horse riding seriously when she turned 11.
Mr Adnan, who showed her the ropes, described the princess as "extremely friendly and caring".
"I am so touched and moved by her gesture to invite me. After all, we are only ordinary stable boys," he said.
Another horse trainer, Mr Zubir Selamat, 35, said:"I have known Tunku Aminah since she was four years old and shared some of my horse-riding knowledge with her. Although shy, she is very disciplined. She treated us all like friends, even though she is royalty and a princess."
He added that receiving the wedding invitation was "extremely gratifying".
The princess will marry Mr Dennis, 28, who was a semi-professional footballer. He had served as manager of the JDT Concept Store and Cafe before he became the marketing manager of Singapore's Tampines Rovers Football Club.
The couple's betrothal ceremony will be held at 10am on Aug 14 at Istana Bukit Serene, followed by the solemnisation ceremony. The bersanding (sitting-in-state) ceremony will be held at 8pm on the same day at the throne room of the Istana Besar.