Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono (HB) X appointed his eldest daughter, GKR Pembayun, crown princess with the new royal title of GKR Mangkubumi through a royal proclamation on May 5. This long-expected decision has stirred up a controversy in the province’s patriarchal Javanese society.
Unlike the neighboring Pakualaman principality, the sultanate of Yogyakarta has struggled to choose a successor to the current sultan, who is the first monogamous monarch of the line but does not have a son. His wife GKR Hemas has given him five daughters.
According to royal rules and precedents (paugeran), which are based on Islamic beliefs, the sultan must follow the right of primogeniture. When Sultan HB V passed away without any male heirs, his successor was his younger brother.
Therefore, according to jurisprudence, the throne should go to one of HB X’s 11 brothers from his father’s four wives.
Based on bloodline and position in the sultanate bureaucracy, KGPH Hadiwinoto is the most suitable candidate, not only because he has the highest royal title but also because he is the only sibling of the current sultan.
Long before he ascended to the throne, Sultan HB X had initiated reform inside the sultanate after his daughters reached maturity. Before HB X’s reign, the bureaucracy was men’s business, with only one women’s affairs office (kaputren).
During his tenure, HB X carefully placed his daughters as deputies of their uncles. When the uncles passed away, the sultan’s daughters took over the posts.
One of the most important jobs is KH Panitrapura, or sultanate state secretary, which is now held by the sultan’s second daughter GKR Condrokirono, who replaced GBPH Joyokusumo, the sultan’s youngest brother who died in 2013. HB X also created a new department to accommodate his daughters’ expertise, such as the 2012 establishment of the Tepas Tandha Yekti, which is responsible for IT and documentation. It is very clear that the sultan has prepared his daughters to lead the sultanate for a long time.
The order changed the basic foundations of the Yogyakarta sultanate.
GKR Mangkubumi has been particularly groomed by her mother Hemas, a member of the Regional Representatives Council. Hemas’ excellent political and social skills have been important in Pembayun’s promotion.
The new heir’s first test in politics came last year when Pembayun’s husband, Wironegoro, contested the national legislative elections. Even though he lost miserably, the couple learned a lot for future entry into national politics.
However, the sultan’s desire to promote GKR Mangkubumi as his successor faces abundant cultural, political and legal obstacles. Culturally, all sultans carry male symbols. The Yogyakarta sultan bears the title of Kalifatullah, or senior spiritual leader, which is associated with men.
In the mosque, the sultan has a special place between the imam and male followers.
He also holds the sacred Continue reading “Bracing for first female sultan”