Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah and Queen Saleha are the current heirs of the Bruneian throne. Sultan Bolkiah has the privilege of being 29th Sultan of Brunei. He is also the first and currently ruling Prime Minister of the oil rich Brunei Darussalam. Besides ruling his dynasty as the king, he holds the positions of both of Minister of Defense and Minister of Finance of his country. As Minister of Defense he is therefore the Supreme Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, besides being an Honorary General in the British and Indonesian Armed Forces and an Honorary Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy.
The Sultan was born on 15th July 1946. The eldest son of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III, he succeeded to the throne as the Sultan of Brunei, following the abdication of his father on 5th October 1967. The 71 years old Sultan celebrated his Golden Jubilee on 5 October 2017 to mark the 50th year of his reign on the throne. Sultan Bolkiah is married to Queen Saleha, who is also his maternal 1st cousin.
The Queen of Brunei, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha was married to Sultan Bolkiah on 28 July 1965, when Hassanal Bolkiah was the Crown Prince of Brunei. King Boliakh & Queen Saleha together have two sons, four daughters and thirteen grandchildren. Queen Saleha heads various government and non government organisations including the Women’s Institute (WI),Girl Guides Association of Brunei Darussalam, Pertiwi Association, PEKERTI, Brunei Government Senior Officers Wives Welfare Association (BISTARI), Women Graduates’ Association, Women’s Council of Brunei Darussalam and Brunei Shell Women Association.
Being a lover of nature, Saleha has a fruit garden, a fish pond and a bird park. Her hobbies include reading, playing badminton as well as traditional Bruneian games such as Congkak and Pasang.
The Sultan of the oil rich country has been ranked among the wealthiest individuals in the world. Following the death of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016, the Sultan is the wealthiest monarch in the world. His wealth in the early 1990s was estimated at $40 billion and some use a similar figure to describe his net worth and assets today. Other monarchies (such as Saudi Arabia) control states valuing more in monetary terms but the money is considered an asset of the state, while the sultan of Brunei’s money is closer to a personal asset even though it officially belongs to the state.
The Sultan of Brunei enjoyed the global limelight for many years for the position of world’s richest man until he was displaced by Bill Gates. By the late 1990s, the Sultan of Brunei had fallen to 3rd place as a result of falling oil prices and reckless expenditure by his brother Prince Jefri. By the early 2000s his fortune decreased to three fourths of what it once was.
In 2008, Forbes ranked him as the world’s fourth richest royal, with a net worth of $20 billion. The earning rate of Sultan of Brunei sums up to $100 a second from oil business and capital market investments. This works out to around $2 billion a year. His net worth fluctuates greatly dependent upon a number of factors, most importantly the price of oil and natural gas, which is where his money comes from.
The Sultan of Brunei has used his own money to support falling currencies and the stock markets in Singapore and Malaysia during the Asian economic crisis in 1997-98. He is reported to have sold at least $300 million of his assets to lend money to his Southeast Asian neighbors. He also supported the activities of Oliver North, famed due to Iran-Contra scandal, during administration of U.S. President Reagan in the 1980s, with a $10 million donation.
The Sultan of Brunei used to make headlines in London for his million dollar shopping sprees. When his country became independent in 1984 he treated himself with a $350 million palace. He also owns homes in England, the United States and elsewhere.
The Sultan of Brunei and his family have indulged themselves in lavish parties, polo ponies, race horses, yachts and hundreds of Rolls Royces and hosted a number or celebrities and beauty queens. The sultan paid Elton John, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Bon Jovi and Tina Turner to come to Brunei and entertain him and his friends. During the mid 1990s the sultan and his brother were credited with supplying roughly half of Rolls-Royce’s sales income.
The sultan’s extravagance is legendary. While playing polo with Britain’s Prince Charles, the sultan once had his polo shoes delivered – by helicopter – to the palace field. The family of the Sultan of Brunei used to spend so much money (up to $500 million a year) at the London jeweler Asprey they decided to buy it. In November 1995 the sultan bought it for $375 million. Asprey has traditionally been the jeweler of the British royal family, or more simply the “Queen’s jeweler.”
The Sultan erected a 1,788 room palace on 49 acres and celebrated his 50th birthday featuring a concert by Michael Jackson, who was reportedly paid $17 million, in a stadium built specially for the occasion. An official list from 2002, exposed Jefri’s legal battle with his brother, with details of more than $17 billion in payments and presents to family, friends, V.I.P.’s, and entourage. The payments included $18 million to the father of one of the Sultan’s wives, around $1.5 million to a badminton coach, and millions more to government officials, some of whom got Porsches, real estate, and jewelry.”
The Sultan’s passion for the world’s most expensive, beautiful, rarest, fastest and unique cars knows no boundaries. His personal collection of over 7,000 high performance cars, which by some estimates is worth more than $5 billion includes 600 Rolls Royce cars, over 300 Ferraris,134 Koenigseggs, 11 McLaren F1s, 6 Dauer Porsche 962 LMs and a number of luxurious Jaguars.
He is famous for having some of the most luxuriously customized private jets like Boeing 747-400 and Airbus a340-200. Sultan’s current asset evaluation is about $20 billion and if the income keeps on growing at the current rate his eldest son might soon be the world’s first trillionaire. Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah got married in 1965 to one of his cousins Pengiran Anak Saleha and became the new ruler on October 5, 1967, and was coroneted on August 1, 1968.
Istana Nurul Iman is the lavish palace of the Sultan of Brunei and the world’s largest residential palace. Completed in January 1984 and covering two million square feet, it cost $350 million and has domes gilded with 22-karat gold, 1,788 rooms, 257 bathrooms, gold-plated escalators, air-conditioned stables for the sultan’s Argentine polo ponies (he at one time had 200 of them), and an 800-car underground garage for the sultan’s cars. It is larger than the Vatican.
Situated on the banks of the Brunei River on the top of a hill overlooking the city, the palace is an enigmatic symbol of Brunei’s enduring monarchy and seat of the nation’s government and a glittering example of Brunei’s majestic royal heritage. It is closed to the public except during the Hari Raya, when the Royal family greets the public. The palace also includes a banquet hall that can be expanded to accommodate up to 5,000 guests, a mosque accommodating 1,500 people and five swimming pools.
Moreover, Sultan of Brunei’s 11.2 acres home in Las Vegas has a listed worth of $ 37.5 million while his lavish mansion near the Sunset Boulevard in the Beverly Hills, California is valued at $38 million. The St. John’s Lodge home owned by the Sultan in London has been estimated to value £110 million.
The country of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Brunei Darussalam is an island and owned by a royal family in form of sultan ship. Currently this small country is one of the richest countries with main income through oil and gas export which contributes mainly to sultan’s luxury and peaceful life.