From a Princess to a Queen

I’ve known Princess Azizah since she was a small girl and a member of the Johor royal family. Over the years she’s commissioned many miniature portraits from me – including five of her babies. This was after she married the Tunku Mahkota (Crown Prince) of Pahang in Malaysia. Three years ago she brought this diamond and platinum brooch to me and commissioned me to paint a tiny portrait of her father-in-law, the Sultan of Pahang.

It was to be worn by the Sultana on official occasions. In Malaysia there are 8 Sultans – each are rulers of their individual states and every five years, in strict rotation, one of the Sultans becomes the King (Yang di Pertuan Agong) of Malaysia. Just this year the present King (Sultan of Kedah) abdicated. This resulted in the Crown Prince of Pahang (Princess Azizah’s husband), being elevated to Sultan and thence to King. Here is a photograph of the Yang Di Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong who as you can see is wearing the miniature against the yellow ribbon, (the official colour of Pahang).

Hope you followed all that.

So what else have I been doing lately? Today we went to The Town and Visitors Regatta in Henley, where we had Pimms in the Directors enclosure, met a few friends there, had a chat to Ken Arlett, the mayor, and had a trip on an umpire’s launch when following a quad race on the Regatta course.

A couple of weekends ago my young friend and I spent a few days in Suffolk to celebrate her birthday. While there we visited ‘Suffolk’s secret jungle’. It’s an exotic garden in Henstead. Over 100 large palms, bananas, hundreds of bamboos – some up to 30 feet tall, and even a Thai-style pavilion.

Although most of the plants are tropical, Andrew Brogan, the owner and creator of the exotic garden, told us he leaves everything unprotected during the winter – even during really icy temperatures. So pleasant to wander round the garden – here are some of the views.

While in Suffolk we took a stroll around Southwold. This is a lifeboat now housed in its own museum.

Also took a little trip around the river on this little boat. Not too much to see but a bracing wind.

Went to the Henley Traditional Boat Festival last weekend. A tremendous variety of craft were there. Some of the Dunkirk Little Boats

And a few interesting amphibians

Even a giant duck

We were treated to an air display of vintage aircraft

And here is the Queen’s new rowbarge – The Gloriana

One evening together with friends Jane and Brian we had a barbecue on the river’s edge at Phyllis Court as we listened to Boy George singing at the Henley Music Festival from the opposite bank. And here comes the New Orleans

Last Monday the sun shone warmly so we took advantage of the glorious weather to take a trip up river on my boat to have lunch at the French Horn in Sonning

Brian and Jane on Marsh Mundy

Currently I’m very busy with my book. All the writing, layout, research and initial rough printing is done. Myf is proofreading and doing the bulk of computer work in readiness for the printer at the end of this month. If all goes well the book should be published by the end of September, when I aim to make a few sales. I hope it will be of interest to more than just artists as there will be many tales of my sittings and meetings with interesting people.

Now to get back to the miniature commissions I’m working on currently.

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