Russian consort reveals royal life with Sultan of Kelantan on Instagram

Sultan Muhammad V and his wife Oksana Voevodina, who now also goes by Rihana Oksana Petra. PHOTOS: RIHANAPETRA/INSTAGRAM

KUALA LUMPUR - Former Miss Moscow Oksana Voevodina has gone public on Instagram about her life as the Sultan of Kelantan's royal consort, confirming speculation last year that the then King of Malaysia had taken a Russian wife.

Taking the name Rihana Oksana Petra, the 25-year-old has garnered nearly 300,000 followers since she first began posting on Instagram in June.

Her posts, in which she shares pictures and talks about motherhood and married life with Sultan Muhammad V, has earned her widespread support from netizens - even as the royal house has yet to officially recognise her as the new Sultanah.

Sultan Muhammad V, 49, has made few public appearances since stepping down as Malaysia's King on Jan 6, becoming the first monarch in the country's history to abdicate. He had ascended the throne in December 2016 and was meant to serve for five years under a rotating monarchy system shared between the country's nine royal households.

While he did not state his reasons for abdicating, royal observers have said speculation last November about his marriage to Ms Voevodina was a factor.

Ms Voevodina's past had raised eyebrows in conservative Muslim Malaysia, after photos surfaced online of her scantily clad and modelling lingerie.

On her Instagram page however, Ms Voevodina is modestly dressed and a picture of wedded bliss.

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"For many people, the story of our first meeting with my husband remains to be a mystery," she wrote in one post that had over 51,000 likes.

Describing their first encounter in spring 2017 while in Europe, the beauty queen said: "He introduced himself as king of Malaysia. I took it as a joke and joked back that I was also the queen of Moscow."

She also posted a photo of her and Sultan Muhammad V in matching cream-cloured Malay outfits at the "Birthday of our family", apparently referring to their Muslim wedding ceremony in June 2018.

Their son, Tengku Ismail Leon Petra Tengku Muhammad V Faris Petra, was born in May this year, she said on Instagram.

Although no official announcement of their marriage has been made to date, the birth of a son is significant as the prince could potentially be next in line for the Kelantan throne.

This is Sultan Muhammad V's second marriage. He has no other children besides Tengku Ismail Leon.

Ms Voevodina has been candid on social media, openly voicing her concerns and fears as a mother, and revealing that her baby was underweight and had jaundice. She also heaped praise on Sultan Muhammad V for taking care of her during a difficult pregnancy.

"The man who really loves his woman will do everything for his beloved one," she posted, adding: "During pregnancy he would give his wife increased attention, gifts and care."

In a post on Saturday (July 6) she related details of the fairytale romance, describing how Sultan Muhammad V confessed he had fallen in love with her at first sight. She said that they spoke on the phone everyday since their first meeting, despite being continents apart.

A trip to Malaysia sealed the deal for Ms Voevodina, who said she chose her relationship with the royal over a modelling contract in New York.

"He told me that he loved our conversations and would like me to become his wife," she shared on Instagram.

Malaysians commenting on her posts online are already referring to her as "Your Highness" and 'My queen".

Despite her online fans, Ms Voevodina's colourful past may prove an obstacle in conservative Kelantan, where the decades-old government of Parti Islam SeMalaysia imposes rules such as separate check-out lines for men and women at supermarkets.

Some disgruntled netizens have asked why she is not donning a headscarf in all of the photos she posted, while others have commented that she looks more beautiful wearing one.

It remains to be seen if she will be officially accepted as the Sultanah of Kelantan. In the meantime, she has promised to reveal more details of her royal romance in future posts.

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