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Jakarta Post

GKR Mangkubumi: Adapting to a new royal title

  • Sri Wahyuni

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Tue, May 12, 2015   /  09:13 am
GKR Mangkubumi: Adapting to a new royal title

GKR Mangkubumi - JP/Tarko Sudiarno

Gusti Kanjeng Ratu (GKR) Mangkubumi of Yogyakarta Palace is unlikely to forget May 5 '€” or Wage Tuesday by the Javanese calendar.

It was the day her father Yogyakarta Sultan Sri Sultan Hamengku Bawono X, previously Hamengkubuwono X '€” gave her the title GKR Mangkubumi Hamemayu Hayuning Bawono Langgeng, which literally means beautifying the eternal beauty of the world.

It was a move observers said was done to establish Mangkubumi as heir to the sultan, who has no sons.

'€œI am still adapting to it,'€ the 43-year-old said when asked about her new title and its implications.

Speaking at her official residence, Ndalem Wironegaran, she said that the title was a great name that was accompanied by a great responsibility to preserve the reputation and fame of the kraton (palace).

Mangkubumi says that she will be entering the palace organization, although there have been no changes '€” and receiving assistance from her father'€™s younger brothers.

'€œI am still very young and I am just entered the palace'€™s organization,'€ Mangkubumi, the eldest of the sultan'€™s five daughters, said. '€œI will need [my uncles] to teach us, to guide us, me and my sisters.'€

Hamengku Bawono'€™s move to change his name and the name of Mangkubumi are said to have caused tension between the sultan and his 11 younger brothers.

Although the name-changing ceremony, called a dhawuh raja, did not explicitly install Mangkubumi as crown princess, the formalities during the ceremony giving her the new title implied that would be the case.

During the ceremony, the sultan said that Mangkubumi'€™s new title gave her the right to sit on a special chair in the keraton'€™s Manguntur Tangkil Hall that was previously reserved only for crown princes.

When his brothers accused him of violating palace rules, the sultan said his decision was based on divine revelation from his royal ancestors from the Mataram dynasty.

Asked if she had a plan to reconcile her father and his brothers, Mangkubumi said that it was not within her remit to do so.

'€œIt'€™s up to Ngarso Dalem,'€ she said, referring to the sultan by a nickname. '€œAs for me and my sisters, they are all still our uncles. We will always need them and respect them.'€

Meet the press: GKR Mangkubumi speaks to reporters.Meet the press: GKR Mangkubumi speaks to reporters.

On sitting in the chair previously reserved for crown princes, Mangkubumi said that she felt the burden of accepting a bigger and tougher task.

While she said that she was only accepting the new title at the present time, Mangkubumi welcomed other interpretations that consider her as the crown princess.

Mangkubumi said that she has been physically and spiritually preparing herself for a long time for the possibility she might be made heir, claiming that she was only doing what had been expected of her.

'€œIt'€™s the sultan who received the revelation from God,'€ Mangkubumi said. '€œAs a daughter I just do what I have been told to do. It'€™s a mandate. Be it light or heavy, I have to bear it.'€

She said that she and her relatives were told about the dhawuh raja ceremony only that day '€” and had no idea what would happen. '€œIt was indeed that prompt,'€ she said.

Mangkubumi said that the sultan had not as yet given her new duties. She will continue to work with her uncle GBPH Yudhaningrat to preserve palace culture including taking care of sacred places, royal cemetery and dances.

Born on February 24, 1972 as Gusti Raden Ajeng (GRAj) Nurmalita Sari, Mangkubumi received the title GKR Pembayun ahead of her wedding in 2002 to Nieko Messa Yudha. Her husband, a commoner, was given the title Kanjeng Pangeran Haryo (KPH) Wironegoro before the wedding.

Mangkubumi, who completed most of her education abroad, has served as president director and president commissioner of PT Madu Baru, PT Mataram Mitra Manunggal, PT Yogyakarta Tembakau Indonesia and PT Yarsilk Gora Mahottama.

Her youngest sister, GKR Bendara, said that Mangkubumi deserved the title. '€œShe is a hard worker. She even almost has no time for her own family thanks to her tight schedule.'€

According to Bendara, her eldest sister spends her weekends with her husband and their daughter and son and will not let anyone disturb them.

Calling Mangkubumi a helpful sister, Bendara said that she hoped that Mangkubumi could carry out her duties.

'€œI am sure she can,'€ said Bendara, adding that Mangkubumi enjoys tempe bosok, or over-fermented soybean cakes.

'€œShe really likes it, in any form,'€ Bendara said.

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After the killing: The blood of a slain student stains the pavement outside the Dr Syarif Thajeb building of Trisakti University in West Jakarta, on May 12, 1998.