Despite his former wife continuing to post updates of their baby and love story on Instagram, the lawyer of Kelantan’s Sultan Muhammad V has confirmed their split and even claimed that the identity of the baby’s father is currently in question.
Singaporean lawyer Koh Tien Hua of law firm Eversheds Harry Elias LLP reportedly told The Sunday Times on July 21 that the couple had indeed divorced, as speculated on social media.
Rumors of the split began after a copy of the divorce certificate was leaked online, which listed it as a “triple talaq” divorce, a type of traditional Islamic divorce. Under this divorce, a Muslim man can leave his wife simply by saying the word “talaq” three times.
The certificate appears to bear the Kelantan state crest and was marked as the copy for the wife.
According to the Sunday Times, Koh confirmed that the Sultan had indeed divorced Rihana Oksana Petra (also known as Oksana Voevodina) “by three talaqs in the presence of two competent Muslim witnesses”.
He also confirmed that the divorce was filed on June 22 in Singapore’s Syariah Court, and finalised on July 1 with permission from Kelantan’s Syariah Court.
These claims contradict statements given by the former Miss Moscow winner to Malaysian news portal Malaysiakini (later carried by The Straits Times) that she was not in Singapore in June for any divorce proceedings, but instead in Russia with her baby.
“I have not been given any admonition of divorce,” Malaysiakini quoted her as saying. “This is an act of provocation. We have never been divorced.”
Koh, however, claimed the former model was informed of the divorce through her lawyers, which he identified as Russian firm Alexander Dobrovinsky & Partners.
She was also given a copy of the divorce certificate, he added.
Lawyer: “No objective evidence” on father of the child
According to a report by UK daily MailOnline, the Sultan allegedly had doubts that Rihana’s two-month-old son, Ismail Leon Petra, was truly his heir.
The baby was born earlier in May, 11 months after the couple married in an Islamic ceremony on June 7, a date Rihana referred to in an Instagram post as the “Birthday of our family”.
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7.06.2018 Birthday of our family. I will carry memories of this Day through my whole life. Our decision to be together led to the creation of a new social unit. Thank you, my dear relatives and friends for the warm greetings! 7.06.2018 День Рождения нашей семьи. Воспоминания об этом Дне я пронесу через всю свою жизнь. Наше решение быть вместе привело к созданию новой ячейки общества. Спасибо вам, дорогие мои близкие и друзья за тёплые поздравления!
According to a report by Russian international television network RT, the pair subsequently visited a fertility clinic in Germany, as the Sultan was “anxious to start a family”.
The 50-year-old monarch’s previous marriage to royal descendant Kangsadal Pipitpakdee in 2004 produced no children.
Following the wedding, the Sultan – who was then Malaysia’s King – made history as the first-ever ruler to abdicate, with observers speculating that the move was linked to unhappiness over his marriage to Rihana.
Koh told the Sunday Times that there was “no objective evidence, as yet, as to the biological father of the child”, and asked that the former King’s privacy “be respected”.
According to MailOnline’s report, a close friend of Rihana’s rubbished the Sultan’s fatherhood doubts, saying that the father and son “share one face“.
While Rihana has posted multiple photos of the child to her Instagram page, none show his face, which is often hidden or angled away from the camera.
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Kepada semua pengikut pengikut saya yang dihormati, jutaan Terima Kasih diucapkan ke atas komen-komen anda. Saya amat senang hati apabila membaca ucapan ikhlas dari anda semua. Kehidupan kami telah berubah sejak anak comel ini dianugerahkan kepada kami suami-isteri dan membawa bersamanya kasih sayang dan cinta. Alhamdulillah, sekarang kami adalah keluarga yang bahagia dan sifat kekeluargaan adalah penting dalam kehidupan kita semua. Oleh itu, diharap kita sama-sama menjaga keluarga kita dan juga satu sama lain. Dan semoga kita dan ahli keluarga kita terus sihat sejahtera dan sentiasa dilindungi dan dirahmati Allah swt. Dear Followers! Thank you for your warm kind comments. I am very pleased to read your congrats. Our life has changed since this little cute bunny came to our world. He came here to be give love and to be loved. When one person starts to take care of another one more than about himself, love turns into a family. Family and children are the most important things in this life. Take care of each other. Дорогие подписчики! Спасибо за ваши тёплые слова. Мне очень приятно читать ваши поздравления. Наша жизнь изменилась с появлением этого маленького человечка, который пришёл в этот мир дарить любовь и быть любимым. Когда каждый начинает заботиться о другом больше, чем о самом себе, любовь перерастает в семью. Семья и дети – это смысл жизни. Берегите друг друга.
MailOnline reported that a source close to the Sultan claimed he had disinherited the baby and would not bestow royal titles on his former wife or child, but was willing to provide for them.
The report also cited sources saying that Rihana had married the Sultan under the impression that she would be given the title of Queen, and her son would be the crown prince of Kelantan.
The Kelantan Palace has never acknowledged their marriage, and issued a statement on July 16 that no one was to be called “Queen of Kelantan” without the title being officially conferred.
It added that Sultan Muhammad V’s younger brother, Tengku Muhammad Faiz Petra, was the rightful crown prince.
Observers believe that the statement was targeted at an Instagram post Rihana wrote on July 11, in which she referred to her son as the future crown prince of Kelantan.
Many also noted the stark difference between the palace’s treatment of Rihana and another foreign bride, Swedish national Sofie Louise Johansson, who wed the crown prince.
Unlike Rihana, Sofie’s marriage in April was officially announced, and she was given the title Yang Berbahagia Cik Puan, an honorific for nobility.
“I cannot hold back tears”: Rihana
In her latest Instagram post dated July 22, Rihana said that she had faced “a lot of malice, slander, and envy”.
She did not mention the divorce rumours in particular, but said she was “proud” that her son was of Malaysian descent, adding that she was willing to do anything to “grow worthy of (Malaysians’) love” for his sake.
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Saya sedang menulis dan saya tidak dapat menahan air mata dari mengalir…dan saya rasa tidak perlu untuk menahannya, kerana ia adalah tangisan kegembiraan dan kesyukuran! Saya masih tidak percaya yang saya menerima bergitu banyak mesej yang baik daripada anda semua. Daripada seluruh pelusuk dunia! Dan sudah tentu saya mahu beritahu kepada semua rakyat Malaysia: anda semua berjiwa besar, kerana menerima dan menyokong saya – seorang wanita dari negara asing dan membesar dengan budaya berbeza. Saya sangat bangga darah Malaysia mengalir dalam anak saya dan saya akan lakukan apa sahaja untuk dia membesar selayaknya dengan kasih anda semua. Dalam hidup saya, saya terpaksa menghadapi pelbagai jenis kejahatan, tipu daya dan hasad dengki. Tetapi anda meyakinkan saya bahawa masih ada kebaikan di dunia ini. Kalaulah saya berpeluang, saya mahu memeluk anda semua dengan kegembiraan . Sokongan dan dorongan anda semua amat berharga bagi saya. Mesej masuk tidak henti-henti, saya akan terus berkongsi kisah hidup saya dengan ikhlas dan jujur. Semoga Allah memberkati anda semua, kawan-kawanku! P.S. Hari ini genap 2 bulan umur Leon. Terus membesar dan bahagia si cilik duniaku.❤️
“I am writing this post and I cannot hold back tears,” she said, describing them as tears of happiness and gratitude for support received.
“I want to tell all the people from Malaysia: you have big hearts, because you accepted and supported me – a girl who was born in another country and grown in a different culture.”