Vyner Brooke’s granddaughter overjoyed to finally visit Sarawak

Lady Simpson says she was way over the moon to finally visit Sarawak as coming here and meeting the people has been one of the most amazing and wonderful things in her life.

by Karen Bong

KUCHING, Aug 1: Lady Roberta Simpson was ‘way over the moon’ to finally fulfil her lifelong dream of visiting the land of her ancestors — Sarawak.

The 82-year-old is the granddaughter of Vyner Brooke, the third and last Rajah who ruled Sarawak from 1917 to 1941, and Ranee Sylvia Brooke.


Lady Simpson together with her husband Sir Kyffin Simpson and daughter Heidi arrived in Kuching city on Sunday (July 28). They have visited a number of places here including Fort Margherita, Bako National Park, Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV), Wallace Point, and the Astana as well as enjoyed a variety of local cuisines.

They were accompanied by their cousin Jason Brooke, who is the director of the Brooke Trust and the great-great-grandson of the second Rajah Charles Brooke.

Lady Simpson and Jason speaking at a press conference about the former’s first visit to Sarawak.

Lady Simpson got a little emotional when speaking of her first impression and experience of Sarawak so far as she said coming here and meeting the people has been one of the most amazing and wonderful things in her life.

“I don’t know what my expectations were, if I had any. I knew the history (of Sarawak) and the history of my family. I didn’t know where I fit in exactly because that was some time ago,” she told a press conference at the Old Courthouse here today.

“The people of Sarawak are so warm and wonderful. They have welcomed me and loved me. And I love them and I understand now why my grandparents talked so much about Sarawak, because they loved the people,” she said.

“I want to come back because when you come here, you do fall in love with the country and the people,” she added.

On why it took her so long to finally step foot on Sarawak’s shores, Lady Simpson shared that apart from her busy life, surprisingly she had just found Jason online.

“And that has made all the difference in the world for me. We emailed and from the time I met him, (I thought) ‘yes I have to go to Sarawak’,” she said while highlighting that it took three days to travel to Sarawak from Barbados, where she lives.

Sharing that she used to hear stories about Sarawak from her mother and grandmother when she was growing up, she added that perhaps it was the scary stories she heard that made her reluctant to come when she was younger.

“She told me stories about finding cobras on her bed. They also talked about finding crocodiles and jewelleries, all kinds of stories,” she said.

“But the stories that impressed me most came from my grandmother who talked about the people, the different tribes and ethnic groups. She was a painter and did beautiful portraits. She used to tell me that women of Sarawak are the most beautiful in the whole world,” she added.

Asked if Sarawak has lived up to the stories she heard, she said: “More. It is nothing like when you come to the place. What she told me was multiplied by a thousand times.”

The family will be leaving for Sibu tomorrow (Friday) to stay for a few days before returning to Barbados. — DayakDaily