'I spent 20 years delivering coal - to discover I'm a sultan's son is a fairytale come true'

, by Laura Ikeji

huge bags of coal but is actually the son of a Malaysian sultan



Amazing discovery: Keith Williams has discovered his birth father was a Malaysian sultan

As Keith the Coal he lugged back-breaking sacks of fuel all his working life and lived in the modest bungalow he thought of as his family home.

Yet unknown to him, he was the oldest son of a sultan living in a gilded hilltop palace in an exotic land thousands of miles away.

It earned him the nickname Keith y Glo - Keith the Coal - and a chronic back problem which forced him to retire six years ago.

But life could all have been so different for Keith Williams as a member of theMalaysian Royal Family and heir to the throne occupied by the 35th Sultan of Perak.

Instead of living in a modest two-bedroom bungalow built by his adoptive parents, Keith could be next in line to move into an amazing oriental hilltop palace topped by golden domes.

And rather than being known to friends as Keith y Glo he would have been addressed as Your Royal Highness by his loyal subjects.

Keith only found out about the fairytale life he never got to lead after years of painstaking detective work into his extraordinary family tree.


Fairytale: Keith Williams has discovered his birth father was a Malaysian sultan

His mum Elizabeth Rosa was working as a 17-year-old trainee nurse at achildren’s hospital in Carshalton, Surrey when she had a whirlwind affair with a handsome Malay prince who was studying in London.

Pregnant Elizabeth went home to Swansea and gave up her four-month-old baby boy for adoption - while the prince was sent back to Malaya to avoid a scandal.

Keith had no idea that when he turned 12 his dad Idris Iskandar Al-Mutawakkil Alallahi Shah became the 33rd Sultan of Perak.

The new Sultan moved into the magnificent Istana Iskandariah palace in the royal town of Kuala Kangsar and ruled until he died from a heart attack in 1984.

Read more: Man adopted 62 years ago discovers he is actually eldest son of Malaysian sultan

Life was very different for Keith who left school at 15 and joined his adoptive dad’s coal delivery business in Penygroes near Llanelli, where he still lives with his wife Vanessa.

Keith, aged 64, told the Mirror: “We delivered 1cwt sacks of coal to several hundred houses every week - I did that for 20-odd years and I’m suffering now because of it. I’ve got chronic back issues.

“The amount of tonnage we did every day was mental - but that was the way it was in those days.”