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Hassanal Bolkiah
Sergio Mattarella met with Hassanal Bolkiah ahead of 2021 G20 Summit (2) (cropped).jpg
Hassanal Bolkiah in 2021
Sultan of Brunei
Reign 5 October 1967 – present
Predecessor Omar Ali Saifuddien III
Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah
Prime Minister of Brunei
Tenure 1 January 1984 – present
Predecessor Office established, formerly known as Chief Minister
Deputy Al-Muhtadee Billah
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tenure 22 October 2015 – present
Predecessor Mohamed Bolkiah
Minister of Finance
Tenure 23 February 1997 – present
Predecessor Jefri Bolkiah
Tenure 1 January 1984 – 20 October 1986
Predecessor Office established
Successor Jefri Bolkiah
Minister of Defence
Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces
Tenure 7 September 1986 – present
Predecessor Omar Ali Saifuddien III
Born Hassanal Bolkiah Muiz'zaddin Wad'daulah
(1946-07-15) 15 July 1946 (age 76)
Istana Darussalam, Brunei Town, British Protectorate of Brunei
(now Brunei)
Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha
(m. 1965)
Hajah Mariam
(m. 1982; div. 2003)
Azrinaz Mazhar
(m. 2005; div. 2010)
  • Princess Rashidah Bolkiah
  • Princess Muta-Wakillah Bolkiah
  • Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah
  • Princess Majeedah Bolkiah
  • Princess Hafeezah Bolkiah
  • Prince Abdul Azim (d. 24 October 2020)
  • Prince Abdul Malik
  • Princess Azemah Ni'matul Bolkiah
  • Princess Fadzillah Lubabul Bolkiah
  • Prince Abdul Mateen
  • Prince Abdul Wakeel
  • Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah
Full name
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien
House Bolkiah
Father Omar Ali Saifuddien III
Mother Pengiran Anak Damit
Religion Sunni Islam
Alma mater
Signature Hassanal Bolkiah's signature

Hassanal Bolkiah ibni Omar Ali Saifuddien III (Jawi: حسن البلقية; born 15 July 1946) is the 29th and current Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan of Brunei since 1967 and the Prime Minister of Brunei since independence from the United Kingdom in 1984. He is one of the last absolute monarchs in the world. The eldest son of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III and Raja Isteri (Queen) Pengiran Anak Damit, he succeeded to the throne as the sultan of Brunei following the abdication of his father on 5 October 1967.

The sultan has been ranked among the wealthiest individuals in the world. In 2008, Forbes estimated the sultan's total peak net worth at US$20 billion. Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in 2022, the Sultan is currently the world's longest-reigning current monarch, as well as the longest-serving current head of state. On 5 October 2017, the sultan celebrated his Golden Jubilee to mark the 50th year of his reign on the throne.

Early life

The sultan was born on 15 July 1946, in Istana Darussalam, Brunei Town (now called Bandar Seri Begawan) as Pengiran Muda (Prince) Hassanal Bolkiah. The sultan received high school education at Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur, after which he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom, graduating in 1967.


Pres. Obama and HM Bolkiah APEC 2015
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah with U.S. President Barack Obama, 18 November 2015
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte Attends Golden Jubilee Celebration of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s Accession to the Throne 1
Hassanal Bolkiah with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, 6 October 2017

He became the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam on 5 October 1967, after his father abdicated. His coronation was held on 1 August 1968, and made him the Yang di-Pertuan (Head of State) of Brunei. Like his father, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, of which Brunei was a protectorate until 1984.

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 amended Brunei's constitution to make himself infallible under Bruneian law. Bolkiah, as Prime Minister, is also the head of government. In addition, he currently holds the portfolios of Minister of Defence, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance. As Minister of Defence he is therefore the Supreme Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, as well as an Honorary General in the British and Indonesian armed forces and an Honorary Admiral in the Royal Navy. He appointed himself as Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the Royal Brunei Police Force.

Bolkiah 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 (Malay Islamic Monarchy, MIB), which presents the monarchy as the defender of the faith. He has recently favoured Brunei government democratisation and declared himself Prime Minister and President. In 2004, the Legislative Council, which had been dissolved since 1962, was reopened.

Hassanal Bolkiah established the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation (YSHHB).

Hassanal Bolkiah was chairman of Summit APEC Leaders in 2000 when Brunei Darussalam hosted the summit. Hassanal Bolkiah was also the chairman of ASEAN Summit in 2013 when Brunei Darussalam hosted the summit.

Hassanal Bolkiah is Head of Religion, and Islam is the official religion of the country. Mosques, prayer halls and stations were built across the country. The sultan decreed that Islamic celebrations such as Early Years Celebration Prophet's birthday, Isra and Miraj and Nuzul Al Quran are to be celebrated on a large scale. He often attends mosques and surau throughout the country for the obligatory Friday prayers.


Hassanal Bolkiah also banned public celebrations of Christmas in 2015, including wearing hats or clothes that resemble Santa Claus. The ban affects only local Muslims. Christians are still allowed to celebrate Christmas. According to Bruneian Bishop and Cardinal Cornelius Sim, on 25 December 2015, there were around estimated 4,000 out of 18,000 Bruneian Catholics, mainly Chinese and expats living in the country, attending the mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. While there was no absolute ban on celebrations, there was a ban affecting Christmas decorations in public places, especially shopping malls; the ban did not affect small stores or private residences including churches.

Personal life

Queen Saleha of Brunei
Saleha, the Queen Consort of Brunei

The sultan married his first cousin and first wife, Princess Pengiran Anak Saleha, who later became the Raja Isteri (Queen). His former second wife, Mariam Abdul Aziz (the former Pengiran Isteri), was a former flight attendant for the national carrier, Royal Brunei Airlines. He divorced her 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. They divorced in 2010, and as with Mariam Abdul Aziz, the sultan stripped her of all titles, honours, and monthly allowance.

Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah is the current Pengiran Muda Mahkota ("crown prince") and the sultan's heir, as the eldest son of the sultan and Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha. As of 2012, Hassanal Bolkiah has five sons and seven daughters with his three wives. As of 2020, he also has 18 grandchildren.


Name Birth / Death Marriage Their Children
Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak (Queen Consort) Hajah Saleha (m. 1965–present)
Pengiran Anak Puteri (Princess) Hajah Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah 26 July 1969 Y.A.M Pengiran Maharaja Setia Laila Di-Raja Sahibul Irshad Pengiran Anak Haji ‘Abdul Rahim bin Pengiran Indera Mahkota Pengiran Anak Dr. Kemaluddin Al-Haj Pengiran Anak Raheemah Sanaul Bolkiah
(b. 28 December 1997)
Pengiran Anak Hariisah Widadul Bolqiah
Pengiran Anak 'Abdul Raqiib
(b. 14 May 2002)
Pengiran Anak 'Abdul Haseeb
(b. 14 January 2006)
Pengiran Anak Raqeeqah Raayatul Bolqiah
(b. 16 December 2009)
Pengiran Anak Puteri (Princess) Hajah Muta-Wakkilah Hayatul Bolkiah 12 October 1971
Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji (Crown Prince) Al-Muhtadee Billah 17 February 1974 Y.T.M Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab-Rahaman Pengiran Muda Abdul Muntaqim
(b. 17 March 2007)
Pengiran Anak Muneerah Madhul Bolkiah
(b. 2 January 2011)
Pengiran Muda Muhammad Aiman
(b. 7 June 2015)
Pengiran Anak Faathimah Az-Zahraa Raihaanul Bolkiah
(b. 1 December 2017)
Pengiran Anak Puteri (Princess) Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah 16 March 1976 Y.A.M. Pengiran Anak Khairul Khalil bin Pengiran Syed Haji Jaafari Pengiran Anak 'Abdul Hafeez
(b. 18 March 2008)
Pengiran Anak Raihaanah Hanaa-Ul Bolqiah
(b. 6 January 2010)
Pengiran Anak Puteri (Princess) Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah 12 March 1980 Y.A.M. Pengiran Anak Haji Mohammad Ruzaini bin Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohammad Yakub Pengiran Anak Muhammad Za'eem
(b. 3 August 2013)
Pengiran Anak Muhammad 'Aamir
(b. 13 February 2015)
Pengiran Anak 'Abdul Hakeem
(b. 19 February 2018)
Pengiran Anak 'Abdul Aleem
(b. 16 June 2020)
Pengiran Muda (Prince) Abdul Malik 30 June 1983 Y.A.M Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Raabiatul Adawiyyah Binti Pengiran Haji Bolkiah Pengiran Anak Muthee'ah Raayatul Bolqiah
(b. 2 March 2016)
Pengiran Anak Fathiyyah Rafaahul Bolqiah
(b. 10 March 2018)
Pengiran Anak Khaalishah Mishbaahul Bolqiah
(b. 5 January 2020)
Hajah Mariam (m. 1982–2003; divorced)
Pengiran Muda (Prince) Haji Abdul Azim 29 July 1982 - 24 October 2020 (aged 38)
Pengiran Anak Puteri (Princess) Azemah Ni'matul Bolkiah 26 September 1984
Pengiran Anak Puteri (Princess) Fadzillah Lubabul Bolkiah 23 August 1985 Y.A.M Pengiran Suami Abdullah Nabil Mahmoud Al-Hashimi
Pengiran Muda (Prince) Abdul Mateen 10 August 1991
Azrinaz Mazhar (m. 2005–2010; divorced)
Pengiran Muda (Prince) Abdul Wakeel 1 June 2006
Pengiran Anak Puteri (Princess) Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah 28 January 2008

Titles, styles and honours

Styles of
The Sultan of Brunei
Personal Emblem of the Sultan of Brunei.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik

Full title

"His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam."

(Rumi): "Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan dan Yang Di-Pertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam."
(Jawi): "کباوه دولي يڠ مها موليا ڤادوک سري بݢندا سلطان حاج حسن البلقية معز الدين والدولة ابن المرحوم سلطان حاج عمر علي سيف الدين سعد الخير والدين، سلطان دان يڠ دڤرتوان نݢارا بروني دارالسلام."

Academic honours

The sultan received an honorary doctorate at the Moscow State University for International Relations (MGIMO), 2005. He previously held an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Oxford, England, which was returned on 6 May 2019 following a letter from the University (but not revoked), and an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, which was revoked on 17 April 2019. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the Chulalongkorn University of Thailand. In 2003, he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humanities and Culture from Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Yogyakarta, Indonesia. On 27 January 2005, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the National University of Singapore. On 14 April 2011, he was conferred the Honorary Doctorate of Law by King's College London. The scroll for the honorary doctorate was presented by Lord Duoro, the chairman of the Council of King's College London. This honorary doctorate was rescinded in 2019 by the Fellowships and Hororary Degrees Committee at King's College London upon recommendation of the Chairman of King's College Council, The Rt Hon the Lord Geidt, in light of the sultan's willingness to inflict death by stoning and other penalties upon homosexuals in Brunei. He was awarded with an honorary doctorate in philosophy and humanities on 21 April 2011 from Universitas Indonesia. On 23 March 2019, he was conferred the Honorary Doctorate Islamic Leadership from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Malaysia.

Military honours

The sultan holds an honorary commission in the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom as an Air Chief Marshal. He is also an Honorary Admiral of the Royal Navy and Honorary General of the British Army, 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. He has an English residence at Binfield Manor in Berkshire.

In April 2008, he was made an honorary member of the Indonesian Satgas Atbara Special Operations Unit. He holds the rank of Honorary Colonel Commandant of Pakistan's Special Service Group (SSG), awarded to him during his visit to the Pakistan Army's SSG headquarters at Cherat with effect from 3 Apr 2005. He possesses red beret and paratrooper wings of the Black Hawk paratroopers, presented to him by the Indian Army during his state visit to India.


Personal Emblem of the Sultan of Brunei
Personal emblem of the Sultan of Brunei
  •  Malaysia: Honorary Recipient of the Order of the Crown of the Realm (DMN, 9 July 1980)
  •  Johor: First Class of the Royal Family Order of Johor (DK I, 19 September 1969)

See also

Women's History Month on Kiddle
Women Scientists of Antiquity
Mary the Jewess
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