A month after his marriage to the Russian model Oksana Voevodina, the King of Malaysia, Muhammad V, renounced the throne. The royal court did not explain the reason for the abdication, but the media linked this with the disapproval of the chosen head of state in the country. The spouse's consent to convert to Islam, put on the hijab and delete the page on Instagram, where before marriage, she published candid photos in a bikini, did not save the situation. However, these are far from the main sacrifices that have to be made not only by the wives of the eastern sultans, but also by the brides of European monarchs.
The 49-year-old Malaysian king met his future wife a year and a half ago in Europe. At the exhibition of luxury watches, 22-year-old Russian woman, winner of the beauty contest "Miss Moscow - 2015" Oksana Voevodina advertised one of the expensive brands. He began to take care of the beauty, whom the world media immediately dubbed the Cinderella from the Kremlin, immediately after meeting. Before the marriage proposal, the head of Malaysia regularly visited her in Russia.
Rumors of the king's love affairs spread rapidly in his homeland. The Malaysians were curious to learn the details of the novel, but this did not add to Muhammad's popularity. Having ascended the throne in 2016, he did not hide his craving for luxury. Journalists suspected that the monarch's beautiful life was costing the Malaysian budget dearly. The relationship with a model from Moscow increased these expenses many times over, which increased public discontent.
Russian-Malaysian relations also left their mark on the king's romantic relationship. After the downed four years ago over the Donetsk region of a passenger plane flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and the subsequent accusations of Moscow's involvement in this catastrophe, relations between the two countries are not easy. Rumors spread that Voevodina was a Russian spy who fell in love with the Malaysian ruler on the instructions of the Kremlin curators.
Hijab online, neckline offline
When in April last year the Russian woman converted to Islam and changed her name to the Muslim Rihan, the people of Malaysia understood that the matter was going to the wedding. To gain trust in society, the bride left the modeling business and put on an oriental outfit. But the sacrifices for the sake of marriage with the king did not end there.
Working as a model in China and Thailand, Oksana posted photos from the catwalks on Instagram. In many pictures, she posed in revealing swimsuits and bikinis. Through social networks, she also promoted her clothing brand, which she launched shortly before meeting Muhammad. All this is in the past. The immediate task is to give birth to an heir to the husband. But even here Voevodina cannot fail to realize all the risks. No matter how her further relationship with Muhammad developed, in the Arab world the child belongs to the father. In the event of a divorce, she, as a mother, will not be able to take him away.
Before marrying Miss Moscow 2015, the king had been divorced from his first Malaysian wife for ten years. He was married to her for four years, but they had no children. Surrounded by the monarch, they talked about his experiences due to the absence of an heir, so before the wedding, the young people underwent a thorough medical examination in Germany.
The council of rulers, which every five years chooses a monarch from among their midst, took the news of Muhammad's marriage with extreme caution. The decision of the king to abdicate, which followed a month and a half after the wedding, is attributed to the pressure of this council by journalists close to the court.
However, relinquishing royal powers does not mean that politics is over. Muhammad V is the hereditary sultan of the Malaysian state of Kelantan, where he went with his wife after abdication.State management involves publicity and adherence to the traditions of the Muslim society. This imposes no less responsibility on the other half of the Sultan. All of Malaysia will be watching how the Russian Cinderella will cope with this.
Freedoms and chains of princesses
Marriage with royals forces people to sacrifice their interests not only in the East, but also in the West. The hardest part is for those who, before joining the royal union, have already taken place in the profession and received recognition. An example of this is the fate of the American actress, winner of the "Oscar" Grace Kelly, who, after her marriage in 1956 to Prince Rainier III of Monaco, was forced to abandon the career of a Hollywood star.
The common people also often compared the American actress to Cinderella, who was lucky enough to marry a prince. But she herself did not consider her life a fairy tale, and marriage with the prince was often called marriage with the state of Monaco. To match the role of the monarch's wife, Grace was forced not only to abandon her career and habits, but also to completely change her character. She devoted herself entirely to studying the traditions and customs that the members of the royal family should follow. Professional and creative freedom, which she cherished before marriage, remained a dream for her that was never fully realized.
Grace Kelly died in 1982 in a car accident after losing control on a mountain road. Exactly fifteen years later, Princess Diana, the wife of the heir to the British throne, died just as tragically - in a car accident. Although she belonged to the royal family, she was always distinguished by an independent character and a desire for personal freedom. Subsequently, many believed that the character and fate of Lady Dee became a challenge to the entire monarchical structure of Great Britain.
Today, morals in the royal houses of Europe have softened. The most august persons are allowed to marry or marry commoners. However, this does not mean disregard for traditions and customs. The American actress Meghan Markle, who married the grandson of the British Queen Prince Harry a little less than a year ago, has already been able to be convinced of this.
Buckingham Palace turned a blind eye to the foreign origin, profession and even the African American roots of the beloved sixth in the line of heirs to the throne of the United Kingdom, but the list of requirements that the prince's wife must follow did not diminish.
Just like in the East, in Europe, members of crowned families are prohibited from maintaining personal pages on social networks. But for American Markle, who was an active Instagram user at one time, the abandonment of social networks was not the biggest victim. The demand not to publicly express their political views and preferences turned out to be more difficult. Famous for her role in the television series Force Majeure, the actress has always been distinguished by her directness. She has repeatedly criticized Donald Trump and openly supported Hillary Clinton. In addition, Meghan has always advocated gender equality and did not hesitate to criticize men for gender bias.
Having received the title of Duchess of Sussex after marriage, the now former film star is forced to focus only on promoting the interests of the British monarchy abroad. The intrigue remains whether Markle will be invited to Queen Elizabeth II in the event of Trump's visit to London.
To refuse revealing outfits and strictly follow the advice of the court stylist, do not make a flashy manicure, do not sign autographs - all representatives of the royal family must follow these rules, and the newly made duchess is no exception.
For the sake of her British husband, the American woman switched from Protestantism to the Anglican Church. She also lost the right to vote in elections, move around without protection, and have her own bank account.Every action of the duchess is coordinated with the royal court, protocol service, security and, of course, with her husband.
Despite all these sacrifices in the name of a high title, Markle still does not have British citizenship. She lives in the country on a family visa. After five years, he will be able to obtain a residence permit, and only after that - the right to apply for the citizenship of the United Kingdom.
Daring Queens of the East
Against the backdrop of the patriarchal traditions of the British throne, some Arab monarchies seem even more progressive. At the same time, it is women who help them to keep up with the times: wives, sisters and daughters of eastern kings, sheikhs and sultans. Most of the first ladies in Muslim kingdoms have a European education, strive to obtain a scientific degree, and are increasingly expressing their views on social and political events.
The main rebel and destroyer of patriarchal dogmas in the Arab world is the princess of Saudi Arabia Amira al-Tawil. She graduated from an American university and received a doctorate in business administration. One of the first in conservative Riyadh, the princess got behind the wheel of a car. A few years later, she committed an even more daring act - she divorced her husband because he wanted to become a father as soon as possible, and she was not yet ready for motherhood. Now the Saudi princess is 35 years old, she is not married, she is engaged in many social and charitable projects, does not shy away from political assessments.
The most famous emancipated queen of the East is the wife of the Jordanian monarch, Rania Al-Abdullah. She openly fights for the rights of Middle Eastern women, wears fashionable outfits that are not typical for Arab women, and often appears in public without a hijab. For many years, jeans and shirts in men's style have been the favorite clothes in the wardrobe of the first lady. Ten years ago, she even appeared on the cover of the American fashion magazine Vanity Fair. The King of Jordan supports his wife's active civil position.
All these examples of the emancipation of Arab women support the thesis that sooner or later the East and West can switch places. In this case, fashion will be dictated not by European, but by Middle Eastern princesses. It is possible that fashion is not only aesthetic, but also political.