The daughter of the Sultan of Brunei, one of the world's wealthiest men, wed groom Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini in a dazzling ceremony at the monarch's 1,700-room palace. Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah, 32, the fifth child of the Sultan and his wife, Queen Saleha, and her groom Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini, 29, exchanged their vows this afternoon in front of scores of gathered family and friends, royals and international dignitaries.
Both the bride and groom work in Governmental roles as employees of the Sultan of Brunei, with Hafizah, who has a degree in business administration, working as an officer in the finance ministry, and Ruzaini a civil servant in the Prime Minister's office.
The Sultan is Prime Minister of the small oil-rich Muslim sultanate that has been governed for 600 years by the same royal family, and also holds the roles of finance and defence minister.
The sultan has 12 children, five sons and seven daughters, from his three marriages, and the wedding is the first involving one of the sultan’s children since 2007.
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei prepared to give his daughter away in a lavish ceremony yesterday, which saw the family attend a service at the Throne Hall of Istana Nurul Iman palace in Brunei yesterday.
The couple then exchanged their vows in front of some the most powerful people in the region including Prime Minister Najib Razak of neighbouring Malaysia.
The couple will now be officially presented to the royal court in an elaborate ceremony on Sunday that marks the climax of more than a week of wedding-related festivities. Southeast Asian leaders and foreign royalty are expected to be among the guests at a lavish royal banquet in honour of the newlyweds in the Islamic sultanate on Sunday night, hosted by the bride’s father, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, 66.
Such weddings are typically a rare source of excitement in Brunei, which is known for its slow pace of life and lack of nightlife.
The wedding of Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah in 2004 attracted large crowds in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, and a guest list of over 2,000 people including members of the royal families of Japan, Jordan, Britain and Malaysia.