GEORGE TOWN, Nov 5 – A man who had witnessed the historical visit of the world’s longest reigning monarch, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 1972 will now get a lifetime opportunity to see Her Majesty’s son, Prince Charles, in person here next Tuesday.
The Prince of Wales and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are on their seven-day visit to Malaysia to commemorate the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations between Malaysia and Britain. Antique furniture shop owner Syed Mohamed Buhari Mohd Noordin, 74, said he managed to catch a glimpse of the Queen who was dressed elegantly, waving to the crowd while touring Jalan Kapitan Keling.
He said people from all walks of life had gathered in front of the Kapitan Keling Mosque since noon to welcome the Queen and her entourage after one big arch was set up to welcome the Queen’s visit. “I was 29 then and I consider myself to be among the few lucky ones to have seen the Queen in person although she was 20 metres away from me but her smiling blue eyes are still fresh in my mind,” he told Bernama at his shop in Jalan Kapitan Keling.
“Although my legs are weak now, I will make sure I can see the heir to the British throne when they take the Penang heritage walk on Monday,” he added. In 1972, it was the Queen’s first and longest visit to Malaysia when she toured several states in conjunction with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1989 and the Commonwealth Games in 1998.
The last visit by Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh was in 1998 when they attended the official opening of the 16th Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, while Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, visited Malaysia in Sept 2012.
Charles and Camilla are expected to arrive in Penang, originally named ‘Prince of Wales Island’, on Monday while the official events will begin on Tuesday, including visits to four places of worship, strolling around the heritage area, and a visit to the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Butterworth before concluding the day by attending the Penang Peranakan Museum reception.
Penang Island was one of the first British possessions in Southeast Asia, founded by Sir Francis Light of the British East India Company in 1786, and was then named the Prince of Wales Island. Together with Singapore and Malacca, the island became part of the Straits Settlements, which were elevated into a British crown colony in 1867.
The settlement on the north-eastern tip of the island was named George Town as capital for the state in honour for King George III of the United Kingdom and in 1800, Province Wellesley or now known as Seberang Perai being added to Penang. This northern state in Peninsular Malaysia has an estimated population of 2.5 million, with its capital city of George Town made a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008 and the entire island also granted city status in 2015. — Bernama