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Tunku Kurshiah

Tunku Kurshiah

Queen of Malaysia
The basics
Quick Facts
Gender female
Birth May 16, 1911
Death February 2, 1999 (Kuala Lumpur)
Father: Tunku Besar Burhanuddin
Spouse: Abdul Rahman of Negeri Sembilan
Children: Tuanku Bahiyah
The details

Tunku Kurshiah binti Almarhum Tunku Besar Burhanuddin (16 May 1911 – 2 February 1999) was the former Tunku Ampuan Besar or Queen of Negeri Sembilan. She also served as the first Raja Permaisuri Agong of Malaya between 1957 and 1960.
Tunku Kurshiah's sister, Tuanku Durah married her stepson Tuanku Munawir Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman and succeeded her as Tunku Ampuan Besar in 1940.

Early life

Born on 16 May 1911 in Seri Menanti, Negeri Sembilan, she was the eldest daughter of Tunku Besar Burhanuddin ibni Almarhum Tuanku Antah (sometime Regent of Negeri Sembilan). She received her early education at the Seri Menanti Malay School. She also attended private English classes.

Becoming Queen

Tuanku Kurshiah married Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad, the ruler of Negeri Sembilan as his third wife. Upon her husband's accession to the throne of Negeri Sembilan in 1933, Tunku Kurshiah was proclaimed Tunku Ampuan Besar or Queen of Negeri Sembilan.

In 1957, her husband was elected as the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong of independent Malaya (later Malaysia) and she became the first Raja Permaisuri Agong or Queen.

Tuanku Abdul Rahman died in April 1960 and Tunku Kurshiah was given the dowager title of Tunku Ampuan of Negeri Sembilan.

Social contributions

In 1954, Tuanku Kurshiah was appointed as the President of the Negeri Sembilan Girl Guides. She was also the patron of the Women’s Institute of Negeri Sembilan.

In May 1961, she established the Muslim Women Welfare Council and to date she is the Founder President.

On 27 October 1974, she was awarded the Tun Fatimah Gold Medal by the National Council of Women’s Organisations for her contribution in elevating the standard of women and children through welfare and education.

Family life and death

Tunku Kurshiah was blessed with two daughters; Tuanku Bahiyah, who became Sultanah of Kedah and Tunku Shahariah, who became Tunku Puan Bendahara of Johor.

Tunku Kurshiah died at Kuala Lumpur on 2 February 1999 and her remains are buried at the Seri Menanti Royal Mausoleum in Seri Menanti.

Family of Queens

Tunku Kurshiah due to her royal lineage has links to many former queens of Negeri Sembilan but also has links with many of the royal families of the other states. Her daughter Tuanku Bahiyah became Sultanah of Kedah and later the fifth Raja Permaisuri Agong. Both her younger sisters succeeded her as Tunku Ampuan Besar, first by Tunku Ampuan Durah who was married to her eldest stepson Tuanku Munawir and second by her youngest sister Tuanku Najihah, who married her youngest stepson Tuanku Jaafar ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Tuanku Najihah also followed in Tunku Kurshiah's footsteps and served as the 10th Raja Permaisuri Agong.


In memory of her contribution to the country, the Malaysian government decided to change the name of Maktab Perempuan Melayu – a prominent boarding school – to Tunku Kurshiah College. The University of Malaya also renamed its Third Residential College to Tunku Kurshiah Residential College.


Honours of Malaysia

  •  Malaysia :
    • Recipient of the Order of the Crown of the Realm (1980)
  •  Malaya :
    • Grand Commander of the Order of the Defender of the Realm (1958)

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Early life Becoming Queen Social contributions Family life and death Family of Queens Recognition Honour
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