Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Raja Puan Besar Perak, Tuanku Zara Salim Davidson is the wife of the Raja Muda of Perak (Crown Prince), Raja Dr Nazrin Shah. Upon her marriage on May 17, 2007, she became the Raja Puan Besar of Perak.
A chemical engineer by training, she currently heads an oil and gas consultancy firm based in Kuala Lumpur. She and the prince, who had been the country’s most eligible royal bachelor for decades, have known each other for about eight years.
Born in Ipoh on March 22, 1973, she is the youngest of four children of William Davidson and Sharifah Azaliah Syed Omar Shahabudin. She has three elder brothers. William Davidson is a prominent lawyer in Perak and Kuala Lumpur.
Zara, who has a strong interest in foreign languages, had studied at SMJK Convent Ipoh and represented her school in squash and tennis from 1988 to 1990. She also represented Perak in swimming between 1981 and 1987.
After completing her A-Levels at Prime College here in 1992, she left for the United Kingdom to study chemical engineering at the University of Nottingham and graduated with first class honours in July 1995. She also won the top student award for her final year project.
Incidentally, her father-in-law, the Sultan of Perak, read law at the same university and was conferred the Bachelor of Laws degree in 1953 before being admitted to the English Bar in 1954.
Zara joined the Business Evaluation Department in the Corporate Planning Unit of Petronas in December 1995 and was part of the team responsible for the successful establishment of the Kertih and Kuantan integrated petrochemical complexes, whose foreign partners included BP, BASF, Dow Chemicals and Mitsubishi.
She then became a Project Analyst in the Petronas Petrochemical Business Unit and was part of the core team developing the Petronas brand essence, which now forms part of the Petronas global branding strategy.
Between February 1999 and October 2000, she was Product Manager at Petlin (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, a Petronas joint venture with DSM of the Netherlands and Sasol of South Africa. She was also part of the Petronas project team to operationalise the largest single-train Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) plant in the world at Kertih.
Zara left Petronas in November 2001 to become Account Manager at Formis Network Services Sdn Bhd and then assumed the post of Vice-President of Partnerships & Alliances at Formis (Malaysia) Berhad, a technology-based company listed on Bursa Malaysia, between 2003 and 2005.
Between 2005 and 2007, Zara, who is a certified life-saver and adventure sports enthusiast, became Managing Director of Forthwave Consulting Sdn Bhd, a hydrocarbon technical engineering and software development company in Kuala Lumpur.
Zara Salim Davidson is the great-grandchild of Kedah's 24th ruler Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, Utusan Malaysia reported.
The Sultan ruled Kedah for 62 years from 1881 to 1943 and one of the Sultan's sons was Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's first prime minister. Therefore, she is also the grandniece of Tunku Abdul Rahman.
According to Zara's uncle Syed Mohd Aldinuri Syed Omar, Zara's mother Sharifah Azaliah Syed Omar was the daughter of Tunku Aminah, who was the daughter of Sultan Abdul Hamid and Che Manjalara.
From the marriage to Che Manjalara, Sultan Abdul Hamid had seven children, including Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and Tunku Aminah.
Zara also has a close relationship with the current Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Sultan Badlishah, who is the grandson of Sultan Abdul Hamid and a nephew to Tunku Abdul Rahman.
She is also the granddaughter of the former Kedah Menteri Besar Tan Sri Syed Omar Syed Abdullah Shahabudin. Tunku Aminah married Syed Omar, who became Kedah's second Mentri Besar after independence, from July 1959 to Dec 1967.
A day after the solemnisation of their vows, there was a special proclamation ceremony to bestow Zara with the official title of Raja Puan Besar of Perak.
The royal wedding reception took place on May 19, 2007.
The couple had their first child, a son, on March 14th 2008