She was born in Kuala Krai, Kelantan on 28 March 1925. She was the princess of Almarhum Tengku Mek Haji Ismail Ibni HH Tuan Besar and Tengku Besar Zubaidah binti Almarhum Tengku Abdul Kadir, The Raja of Pattani in Southern Thailand. Her late father, Tengku Mek Haji Ismail was prince of HH Raja Tuan Besar Ibni Tuan Long Puteh, the third king of Pattani from Long Yunus dynasty of Kelantan while his mother was a princess of the last king of Pattani, HH Sultan Abdul Kadir Kamaruddin Syah Ibni Sultan Sulaiman Syarafuddin Syah.
Her family ruled Pattani in south Thailand until it was overthrown by King Chulalongkorn in his effort to consolidate his hold on the southern part of that country. Tengku Budriah's grandfather, the former Sultan Abdul Kadir Kamaruddin Ibni Sultan Sulaiman Sharafuddin (Tuan Long Bongsu) of Patani, withdrew to Kelantan. The ruling family of Kelantan was distantly related to that of Patani. Long Muhammad Ibni Raja Muda Long ismail, the grandson of Long Yunus (King of united Kelantan) was appointed by Siam to rule Pattani after he reconciled and give up his right on Kelantanese throne to his cousin, Long Senik Mulut Merah (Sultan Muhammad II of Kelantan).
Tengku Budriah was brought up in a family which had a simple way of life. She was noted for her gentleness and politeness. By her active involvement in uniformed organisations she developed herself into a personality with superior leadership traits.
She began her primary education in a Malay School when she was seven, then continued her education at Kuala Kerai English School. Tengku Budriah later spent her Lower Secondary Education at Anglo Chinese Girls School in Ipoh, Perak. As an active person in extra-curricular activities, she was appointed as committee member in Brownies and Girl Guides, and would later attend the 1950 Girl Guides Jamboree in Australia.
Besides that she was also active in sports where she represented her school team in badminton and hockey, and also enjoyed sewing, cooking, flower arrangement and horse riding.
At the age of 17, Tengku Budriah married Tuanku Syed Putra ibni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail, heir apparent of Perlis in 1941. She went on to bear him five princes and five princesses.
When he was exiled by the Japanese occupying forces during the second World War, she helped him run a small cake and sundry goods shop in Kota Bharu. After the 1945 Japanese surrender she returned to Perlis with her family, travelling by train to Padang Besar, then by manually operated railway trolley (Gek-gek) to Bukit Keteri since there was no train link.
Her husband became Raja of Perlis in 1945 and Tengku Budriah was installed Raja Perempuan or Queen of that state. Then in 1960 Tuanku Syed Putra was elected the third King of Malaysia (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) and Tengku Budriah accordingly became Queen (Raja Permaisuri Agong).
When her husband died in 2000, he was the world's longest reigning monarch. Her eldest son Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin also served as Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia from 2001 till 12 December 2006. Her title after the death of the king was YMM (Yang Maha Mulia) Raja Perempuan Besar Perlis, which means HRH the Queen Mother of Perlis.
Tengku Budriah spent most of her leisure time enjoying her favourite hobbies such as gardening, sewing, flower arrangement and cooking. She often cooked for her husband especially when they were on vacation abroad.
In later life she took up a new interest in painting flowers on dresses, scarves and porcelain for sale where profits made from the sales were donated to the welfare funds of Taman Asuhan Darulfarah. She also liked to spend time in her durian orchard.
Tengku Budriah took several initiatives to upgrade the welfare of the people of Perlis. She often visited schools and awarded school uniforms to poor students.
The Royal family were pioneers in implementing the Foster Parents Project organised by the Women Institution (W.I.) of Perlis. Each Royal Family member would take one poor foster child to support for his education. This project succeeded in helping the poor students to continue their education to higher levels.
Tengku Budriah also played an active role in the progress and welfare of the women in the country. She acted as patron and chairman to several movements in the state and nationwide such as Perlis Women Institutions (W.I.), Perlis Muslim Women Welfare Association, Perlis Family Planning Association, Malaysian Women's Hockey Association, Perlis Children Welfare Board and Taman Asuhan Darulfarah.
In 2002 the nursery managed by Darulfarah was closed down and thus the name Taman Asuhan Darulfarah was changed to "Yayasan Amal Tengku Hajah Budriah" and the latest project was initiated through her ideas and commitment was the setting up of Tuanku Syed Putra Dialysis Centre built next to the existing Darulfarah building which was completed in June 2005 and the Syed Putra Foundation for Kidney Disease.
Tengku Budriah lived in quiet retirement in Perlis, though active in charitable organisations.
She died at the age of 80 in the Hospital Kuala Lumpur at 3:47am on 28 November 2008.
The King, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi paid their last respects in Kuala Lumpur before her body was flown on a Royal Malaysian Air Force Hercules aircraft from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport to the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Alor Star. She was then taken to Arau, where the local citizens were given an hour to pay their last respects; among them were the Sultan and Sultanah of Kedah. She was buried at the Royal Mausoleum Perlis in the afternoon.28 March 1924 – 12 March 1949: His Highness (Yang Mulia) Tengku Budriah binti Tengku Ismail of Pattani
12 March 1949 – 14 September 1960: Her Royal Highness (Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia) Tuanku Tengku Budriah binti Tengku Ismail, The Raja Perempuan of Perlis
14 September 1960 – 20 September 1965: Her Majesty (Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda) Tuanku Tengku Budriah binti Tengku Ismail, The Raja Permaisuri Agong III
20 September 1965 – 16 April 2000: Her Royal Highness (Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia) Tuanku Tengku Budriah binti Tengku Ismail, The Raja Perempuan of Perlis
16 April 2000 – 28 November 2008: Her Royal Highness (Yang Maha Mulia) Tengku Budriah binti Tengku Ismail, The Raja Perempuan Besar of Perlis
Malaya : Grand Commander of the Order of the Defender of the Realm (1959)
Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Chula Chom Klao