Hassanal Bolkiah

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

The Sultan has a sizable private fortune derived from his total control over the national economy's finances and the appropriation of the state's sizeable oil revenues to bankroll his extravagant lifestyle. The Sultan's fortunes have fluctuated in line with oil prices since an estimated high of $55.63 billion in 1997, which made him the richest man in the world at the time.

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 .

Political role as Sultan

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

He addressed the United States of America, Iraqi Nations, and 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.He has recently favoured partial democratisation. In 2004, the Legislative Council, which had been dissolved since 1962, was reopened.
His designated successor is his eldest son, Al-Muhtadee Billah.

Early years and education

He was born on July 15, 1946 in Brunei Town (now called Bandar Seri Begawan). He became crown prince in 1961 and sultan on October 5, 1967, after his father abdicated voluntarily. His coronation was held on August 1, 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].

His Majesty 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 a Honorary Doctorate from the Chulalongkorn University of Thailand.
In 2003, received Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humanities and Culture by the Gadjah Mada University, UGM, Yogyakarta, Republic of Indonesia.[1] On the January 27, 2005, the Sultan was awarded and made an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the National University of Singapore.

Hassanal Bolkiah

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