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Hassanal Bolkiah
Sultan of Brunei
Coronation 1 August 1968
Predecessor Omar Ali Saifuddien III
Issue
Al-Muhtadee Billah
Azim
'Abdul Malik
Abdul Mateen
'Abdul Wakeel
Rashidah
Muta-Wakkilah
Majeedah
Hafizah
'Azemah
Fadzilah
Ameerah
Born 15 July 1946 (1946-07-15) (age 63)
Istana Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, British Empire
Religion Muslim - Sunni

Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah GCB GCMG (born 15 July 1946) is the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the 29th Sultan of Brunei, the eldest son of Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the previous Sultan of Brunei, and Pengiran Anak Damit.

Contents

Marriage and children

The Sultan currently has two wives, with Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha being designated his first wife. His former second wife, Pengiran Isteri Hajah Mariam, was a former stewardess for the national carrier, Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) whom he divorced in 2003, stripping her of all her royal titles. In August 2005 her place was taken by a former Malaysian TV3 presenter, Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim, who is 33 years younger than the Sultan.

Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah is the crown prince and the Sultan's heir, the eldest son of the Sultan and Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha, his first wife. As of 2008, Hassanal Bolkiah has five sons and seven daughters with his three wives[1].

  • By HM Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha:
    • HRH Princess Rashidah (born 26 July 1969)
    • HRH Princess Muta-Wakkilah (born 12 October 1971)
    • HRH Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah (born 17 February 1974)
    • HRH Princess Majeedah (born 16 March 1976)
    • HRH Princess Hafizah (born 12 March 1980)
    • HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik (born 30 June 1983)
  • By HRH Pengiran Isteri Mariam:
    • HRH Prince 'Abdul 'Azim (born 29 July 1982)
    • HRH Princess 'Azemah (born 26 September 1984)
    • HRH Princess Fadzillah (born 23 August 1985)
    • HRH Prince 'Abdul Mateen (born 10 August 1991)
  • By HRH Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar
    • HRH Prince 'Abdul Wakeel (born 1 June 2006)
    • HRH Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah (born 28 January 2008)

Political role as Sultan

For further information on the politics of Brunei see the article, Politics of Brunei.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah with President of People's Republic of China, Hu Jintao

Under Brunei's 1959 constitution, the Sultan is the head of state with full executive authority, including emergency powers since 1962. On 9 March 2006, the Sultan was reported to have changed Brunei's constitution to make himself infallible under Bruneian law.[2] Bolkiah is also the Prime Minister of Brunei, as well as holding the portfolios of Defence and Finance.

He addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Brunei Darussalam's admission to the United Nations in September, 1984. In 1991, he introduced a conservative ideology to Brunei called Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB) (or Malay Islamic Monarchy), which presents the monarchy as the defender of the faith.[3] He has recently favoured partial democratisation. In 2004, the Legislative Council, which had been dissolved since 1962, was reopened.[4]

His designated successor is his eldest son, Al-Muhtadee Billah.

Early years and education

He was born on 15 July 1946 in Brunei Town (now called Bandar Seri Begawan). He became crown prince in 1961 and sultan on 5 October 1967, after his father abdicated voluntarily. His coronation was held on 1 August 1968. Like his father, he has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, of which Brunei was a protectorate until 1984.

The Sultan received high school education in Malaysia's premier school Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur, where he joined the Cadet Corps (Band). After receiving a private education in Brunei, the Sultan attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in October 1967 but returned home to be the Crown Prince few months before graduation, and has since received an honorary doctorate from a Russian university[citation needed].

He has also been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Oxford, England, UK and an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He also received an Honorary Doctorate from the Chulalongkorn University of Thailand. He is also a devout follower of the Naqshibandi-Haqqani tariqa, and is a disciple of Maulana Shaykh Nazim Adil al Qubrusi Sultan-ul-Awliya.

In 2003, received Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humanities and Culture by the Gadjah Mada University, UGM, Yogyakarta, Republic of Indonesia.[5] On the 27 January 2005, the Sultan was awarded and made an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the National University of Singapore.[6]

Motor cars

The Sultan is famous for his vast automobile collection. In 1998, the British car magazine Autocar published undercover photographs of the Sultan's cars, which included unique modifications of Ferraris and Bentleys. It has been said that he has at least 3,000 to 6,000 cars[citation needed] and has bought over U.S.$4 billion worth of high-performance cars[citation needed].

The number purchased by his business interests and the number actually used by himself and his family differ greatly. According to Guinness World Records the Sultan's personal private collection has 500 Rolls-Royces — the largest collection of that marque in the world. During the 1990s, his family accounted for almost half of all Rolls-Royce purchases, bulk buying slightly modified vehicles for diplomats and adding unique cars to their own collection. He also owns the very last Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, a 1992 state landaulette.

Among his collection are the,Maruti 800, Porsche Carrera GT, Lamborghini Diablo Jota, Porsche 959, Bugatti EB110, Bugatti Veyron (regular and Pur Sang edition), Lamborghini Murcielago LP640, Maybach 62, Jaguar XJR-15 and six Dauer 962s. He is also the owner of six models of the Ferrari FX, the original red show model of the Bentley Continental R, two fully operational versions of the Ferrari Mythos concept car, both of the Ferrari 456 GT Sedans, the only right hand drive Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR in the world, five McLaren F1s including both black LM models and three Cizeta-Moroder V16T cars. He also possesses a Formula One car as driven by every Formula 1 World Drivers Champion since the 1980 Formula One season, particularly the ones driven in the last race for each season. A prime example of this is Jacques Villeneuve's Williams FW19 which still bears the collision damage courtesy of Michael Schumacher in the 1997 European Grand Prix.

He has a special interest in buying one-of-a-kind didjo cars, including the Bentley Java and Bentley Dominator 4x4, whilst leaving slightly more common race cars such as the Aston Martin AM3 or the modified Mercedes-Benz 300SL to his brother Jefri. The collection of vehicles was for the most part stored and serviced in five aircraft hangars, where specialist teams from the various manufacturers would maintain the collection.

The Daily Mirror (UK) reported on 26 October 2007 that the Sultan owned 232 Mercedes-Benzes, 224 Ferraris, 245 Bentleys, 150 BMWs, 165 Jaguars, 125 Porsches, 130 Rolls-Royces, and 20 Lamborghinis.[7]

Other concerns

For personal use, the sultan has a Boeing 747-400 furnished with gold plated furniture with an estimated value of $233 million including $3 million on furniture, six smaller planes and two helicopters. He is trained to pilot the aircraft.

He also operates a $3 billion theme park called Jerudong Park, which in the past used to be free of charge. As of now, the theme park is closed for repairs.

Despite his personal extravagance, he has attempted to share the country's oil wealth. In a country mockingly dubbed the "Shellfare State", in reference to the significant influence of the Shell Oil Company[8][9], Bruneians have free education and medical services. There are neither personal nor corporate taxes in Brunei.

His official residence is the Istana Nurul Iman, with 1,788 rooms, 257 bathrooms, and a floor area of 2,152,782 square feet (200,000 m²), undisputedly the world's second largest palace after former Beijing Imperial Palace (720,000 m²).

Family feud

In February 2006 the sultan's legal feud with his brother, Prince Jefri Bolkiah (in the media known as the "Playboy Prince", because of his lavish lifestyle), was settled in London's High Court. In a surprise move, the sultan agreed to drop all charges against Jefri, whom he in 2000 sued for embezzling £8 billion (US$15.4 billion) from the Brunei Investment Authority (BIA).

Controversies

Between 2001 and 2005 a UK businessman, Mark Burby, was allegedly defrauded by two members of the Brunei Royal Family, Pengiran Ayub (the Sultan's Cousin) and Pengiran Damit (The Sultan's sister-in-law). The case went to trial and the Brunei Royals were ordered to pay over £50M of lost earning to Mark Burby. At the point of enforcing the judgement the business man went to work for a more senior Brunei Royal on the understanding that the Sultan ensured his debt was paid. As of July 2009, the debt remains unpaid. The details of the scandal can be found at www.royallyshafted.co.uk [10] and at Times Online [11]

In 1997, former Miss USA Shannon Marketic filed a lawsuit against the ruling family of Brunei for $90 million.[12] In the case, Marketic alleged that she and 6 other young women were paid $127,200 each for a modeling job in Brunei (whereas on the ABC news program 20/20, Marketic said she was supposed to provide "intellectual conversations" with visiting guests of the royal family). These other women include former Miss Teen USA and future Miss USA Brandi Sherwood, who was invited along by Shannon, and Miss United Kingdom runner up Paula Bradbury.

Marketic maintained that she and Stephanie Granton were held as "sex slaves" and were "intimidated and coerced into performing physically and morally repulsive acts of prostitution."[13] They were apparently ordered to dance for 5–6 hours every night at parties during which their bodies and private parts were groped and grabbed by men. During the dances Marketic was also allegedly abused verbally with comments made about her bare breasts.[14] The women were often told to go with a man to have "tea" with him and then had sex with him.[15] In her interview on 20/20, Marketic said that after 32 days of being held against her will, she managed to smuggle a letter out to the US Embassy; shortly afterwards, she was allegedly paid $10,000 and forced to fly back to the United States alone.[12] The case was thrown out due to the immunity of the ruling family as heads of state.[15] There has been no further investigation into this case although there are allegations both supporting and refuting her claims. Paula Bradbury separately sued the Sultan and won £500,000 in settlement.[16]

Honorary titles

The Sultan holds an honorary commission in the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom as an Air Chief Marshal.[17]

He is also an Honorary Admiral of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom,[18] a title given to him by Queen Elizabeth II when he took the salute at the passing out parade of the 2001 summer term at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, the Royal Navy's officer-training school in the United Kingdom.

In April, 2008, he was made an honorary member of the Indonesian Satgas Atbara Special Operations Unit.

He also holds the rank of Honorary Colonel of SSG, awarded to him during his visit to the SSG headquarters at Cherat.[19]

See also

References

External links

The prince, the lawyer and his wife lose out in court (26 Jan 2007) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article1296187.ece - article regarding Thomas Derbyshire and Faith Zaman losing appeal against freezing of assets in multi-million dollar fraud case

Hassanal Bolkiah
Born: 15 July 1946
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Omar Ali Saifuddien III
Sultan of Brunei
1967 – present
Incumbent
Heir:
Al-Muhtadee Billah
Bruneian royalty
Preceded by
Ahmad Tajuddin
Crown Prince of Brunei
Pengiran Muda Mahkota

1965 – 1968
Succeeded by
Al-Muhtadee Billah
Political offices
New title
Post created
Prime Minister of Brunei
1984 – present
Incumbent
Records
Preceded by
Bill Gates
World's richest person
1997
Succeeded by
Bill Gates







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