KUCHING: Lady Roberta Simpson, the granddaughter of the last White Rajah of Sarawak, Charles Vyner Brooke, is fascinated with, and has fallen in love with the multi-racial and multi-religious uniqueness of Sarawak and its people.
Lady Simpson, 82, is the granddaughter of Brooke from his daughter Elizabeth Brooke and her spouse, Harry Roy.
She said she has never heard much about Sarawak before, not until she heard it from her grandmother, Ranee Sylvia Brett Brooke, who always talked about the uniqueness, harmony and friendliness of the people here.
Now that she is in Sarawak, she is able to see and feel how unique life is in the state for the very first time.
She has also seen the art of the people here and the environment, which were painted by her grandmother, like those of a woman and a Dayak hero, and Mount Santubong.
“What attracts me about the story that my grandmother told me, is the people here who come from many ethnic groups, and about hunting. I have their beautiful paintings.
“Sarawak women are the most beautiful women in the world. I have a beautiful portrait of it as proof. I also remember about the art of a Dayak hero and the beautiful Mount Santubong, which my grandmother painted,” she told a press conference at the old Court House here yesterday.
She was accompanied by her relative, Jason Brooke, who is the grandnephew of Vyner Brooke. He also takes care of The Brooke Heritage Trust which oversees The Brooke Gallery, and Ranee Museum.
Commenting on her programme which has been arranged for her whilst in Kuching, Lady Simpson said she was very happy with it, including visits to historical places in and around the city, Bako National Park, Sarawak Cultural Village, Santubong Beach, Fort Margherita, the Astana, and many others.
“I love to come here because the programmes are all very interesting, and the people here welcome me.
“I love the people of Sarawak, and only now that I understand why my grandfather and my family always talked about Sarawak. It is because they love the people here, and not only loving Sarawak,” she added.
She said she knew about her family history, but not the details of it.
“But I can only tell you that my presence here will bring many memories which mean a lot to me,” she said.
Lady Simpson is also accompanied by her husband Sir Kyffin, and daughter Heidi.
She will also meet with members of the community with connections to her family, as well the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Taib at the Astana.