When 64-year-old Welshman Keith Williams set out to find out about his biological parents, he didn’t expect to make a discovery of a lifetime.
Living in Penygroes, a village in Gwynedd, Wales, Keith Williams was adopted as a toddler more than 60 years ago. Also known as Keith y Glo (Keith the Coal), he spent more than 20 years working in his adoptive father’s coal business. Keith, who has 3 children and 6 granddaughters, embarked on a voyage of discovery which led him to his biological mother, Elizabeth Rosa.
It was through her that he discovered his (part) royal blood because apparently, he’s the firstborn son of a Malaysian Sultan -Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Shah. Like a fairytale.
Keith said, “It’s like a story from a Disney film and if someone had told you this story in the café or by the bar, you’d tell them to get out. Finding out that my dad came from Malaysia was a bit of a shock. When I found my birth mother, I discovered she had kept lots of old photos and information about him.”
Keith’s story is the subject of an S4C documentary, “Fy Nhad y Swltan” (My Father the Sultan), broadcast in Wales on 6th January. The documentary follows Keith and his youngest son Timothy as they visit Malaysia to find out more about his father’s side of the family.
Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Shah served as the 33rd Sultan of Perak after he returned to Malaysia from the UK. In January 1984, he died of a heart attack. (Source)
Keith struggled to make contact with various members of the family and he believes their reluctance to meet him may have stemmed from a fear that he would lay claim to his father’s title, grand palace, and vast fortunes. But he has no desire to take on the role of Sultan.
“I didn’t make this programme as something against them. I just wanted to find out more about myself. I can imagine why they would be sensitive about it, but I’ve seen what I wanted to see: I have seen my father’s tomb, which was very emotional for me,” he said.
“The whole experience has been a dream, to be honest, because I would never have thought that I’d get to go over to Malaysia to find out more about my father,” he added.