Crown Prince Billah of Brunei & Sarah Salleh - September 2004
Some beautiful pictures of the CP's pre-wedding ceremonies, I can only imagine how lavish the actual event would be
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, BRUNEI - SEPTEMBER 5. Princess Dayangku Sarah binti Pengiran Salleh Ab Rahaman takes part in the traditional ceremony of Majlis Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja September 5, 2004 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu?izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince of Brunei Darussalam and his bride Princess Dayangku Sarah binti Pengiran Salleh Ab Rahaman were taking part in the traditional ceremony of Majlis Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja. The Royal couple is anointed with herbs and pastes as part of the many traditional events leading up to the culmination of wedding ceremony on Wednesday.
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The CP is wearing yellow, his bride-to-be is in light blue.
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more pictures (thats the crown prince's parents in the third pic in the top row)
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Thanks for the beautiful pictures! The bride looks much younger than the groom.
Yes, she look very young. But this is not the wedding, isn't it? Who his the women in the 6 pic? That she seting with the sulton?
the girl is beautiful!
The woman sitting with the sultan, in the dark mustardy outfit is his wife and the crown prince's mother.
Here's an article about the wedding:
pictures of the preparations
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The girl is beauuuutiful indeed...the ceremony looks really royal and grandiose....I have no problem with the royal family spending such huge money on the wedding as Brunei is a really rich country...So...it is well deserved not like some poor countries like Jordan whose royal family acts as if the country is rich...how ridiculous...
Besides, I respect the bride...she is still covering her head (Hijab) even in her big day...;) :)
What is going on in Brunei today 7/9/2004? Any ceremony before tomorrow's wedding celebration 8 & 9?
One more thing is who are the foreign royal guests will be attending the Brunei wedding tomorrow?
I dont know about the wedding guests, but im sure that members of royalty and statesmen from around the world will be attending. This is undoubtedly going to be a lavish event, the Sultan of Brunei and his family are quite extravagant.
Here's a link from the Crown Prince's website, it goes over all the ceremonies in detail
Brunei gears up for sumptuous royal wedding
7 SEPTEMBER 2004
http://www.hellomagazine.com/graphics/sendtoafriend.gifThe tiny Pacific nation of Brunei is making final preparations for a truly magnificent royal wedding. Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah will marry Dayangku Sarah on Thursday in what promises to be one of the most spectacular celebrations in recent memory.
Top royals and dignitaries from all over the world are expected to attend a banquet the following day, September 10. And in accordance with Brunei tradition, the festivities are already well underway. A $200,000 fireworks extravaganza planned for the night itself will mark the culmination of a 14-day party which began on August 26.
Prince Al-Muhtadee will one day accede to the throne of his oil-rich nation. The 30-year-old, who studied politics and international law at Oxford, was officially named as successor by his father, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, in 1998.
His bride-to-be, meanwhile, is still studying at a local university. The 17-year-old, who lists rock-climbing and scuba diving among her hobbies, showed off her penchant for designer labels by wearing a Dior T-shirt in recent press photos. But the teenager was sporting rather more traditional attire when she took part in a dress rehearsal for her wedding at the royal palace in Bandar Seri Begawan.
Palace lackeys are polishing golden chains and ruby-encrusted
daggers in Brunei this week. The remote petro-fiefdom on the
northern coast of Borneo is going overboard (which is saying
something for this gilt-laden country) for what promises to be the
most lavish royal wedding of the decade. Its ruler, Sultan Hassanal
Bolkiah of Brunei, has been hosting street dances and candle-light
processions since 26 August as part of a month-long jolly to
celebrate the marriage of his eldest son. The celebrations reach
their zenith tomorrow; the monarch has declared it a national day of
Even though the Sultan's fabled personal fortune of £45bn is
diminished after years of family splurging (he now ranks down at No
21 with £7.5bn in assets instead of topping the list of the world's
wealthiest men), he is not apt to scrimp on such momentous
occasions. And, after the price of crude oil nudged record highs
this summer, a few gestures of opulence will be expected by the
dignitaries and well-heeled wedding guests jetting in from the
Arabian Gulf and the Pacific Rim. After all, the Sultan famously
flew Michael Jackson over in 1996 to serenade him thrice on his 50th
But clearly, nothing less than the extraordinary will do to
celebrate the first marriage of the first-born son from the Sultan's
first wife, Queen Saleha. Crown Prince Pg Muda Hj Al-Muhtadee
Billah, 30, weds the 17-year-old Dayangku Sarah binti Pengiran
Salleh Ab Rahaman tomorrow. Formal portraits of the betrothed couple
are already hoisted over vast banks of red, yellow and blue flowers
lining the thoroughfares across the spruced-up capital, Bandar Seri
Begawan. Officially, the wedding banquet will be a teetotal affair.
Gossips who track the world's most eligible bluebloods note that
Brunei's Crown Prince has only recently become attached to young
Sarah, who is a distant royal relative. A Bruneian student commented
in the anonymity of an internet chatroom: "His Highness had to split
up with his ex-girlfriend. She was viewed as too common and is out
of the picture. She left the country in a huff." Also in a huff was
this contributor, who added: "People say that the Prince took his
pick from a roomful of virgins at his 30th birthday party in
February. But nobody in my crowd was invited."
Even if this wedding happens to be a family affair, there will be
scant risk of any potential heirs to the throne suffering from
inbreeding. Brunei's monarchy has been compared to the American
television sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies because of the
preponderance of marriage between "kissing cousins" and their rather
unsophisticated approach to their vast oil wealth. But in this case,
a fresh European bloodline comes through Sarah's Swiss mother, the
former Suzanne Aeby. While working in London as an au pair in the
Eighties, she was swept off her feet by a minor Bruneian royal, Yang
Mulia Pengiran Salleh binti Ab Rahaman. Sarah and her elder brothers
Irwan and Adrian have since lived a comparatively sheltered
existence in Brunei.
The doleful Crown Princess Masako of Japan, whose court physicians
advised against her attending the royal wedding because it would
interrupt her treatment for stress, made headlines when she sent her
regrets last week. Her situation may be seen as a cautionary tale
for the newest princess bride in Asia; palace life has proven
utterly claustrophobic for Princess Masako. A highly-educated,
cosmopolitan woman who grew up abroad, she has faced enormous
pressure to produce at least one male heir for the Chrysanthemum
Throne. But after 11 years of marriage and one miscarriage, the
Japanese royals have one daughter, Princess Aiko, aged three. Bored,
lonely and increasingly unhappy, Princess Masako recently took
refuge in her parents' home.
Brunei's princess-to-be appears to be considerably more robust.
Sarah, not yet enrolled in university, likes to scramble up
cliffsides and scuba dive, and enjoys sailing and abseiling. "She is
known for her grace and diligence," says the blurb on the
government's wedding website. She also likes sporting pastimes that
conspicuously burn up the kingdom's main export, petrol; Sarah's
passion is navigating on ambitious four-wheel-drive vehicle
expeditions that cross international borders.
The bridegroom is rather more indoorsy. Crown Prince Billah
graduated from Oxford, after reading Islamic studies at Magdalen
under a bogus commoner's name, Omar Hassan, in 1997. His investiture
took place the following year, but he is still keen on the less-than-
regal sports of badminton and snooker, rather than the polo that
excites his Sandhurst-educated father. He follows football avidly
and plays in goal on the national team when the whim takes him.
Long before "bling" became a byword for street cred, the Brunei
royals set the standard for big spending on tacky baubles. The
Sultan, known as The Big One - despite his small stature - and his
younger brother Jefri were heavily into retail therapy, blowing huge
sums on hotels, jumbo jets, yachts, race cars and bizarre erotic
jewellery. Where they went, servants, confidants, playmates and camp
followers tagged along. "Even the entourages have entourages,"
sighed one harassed source.
Brunei, roughly the size of Norfolk, perches atop hefty reserves of
oil and natural gas. Petro-dollars still keep the royal treasury
topped up and maintain per-capita annual income at $25,000
(£14,000), and no one pays income tax. The Sultan has no urgent
plans to introduce democracy, although he has convened parliament
for the first time in 20 years. But the popular ruler dispenses free
healthcare, education and housing for his 230,000 subjects.
A further dent in the coffers came when Prince Jefri's holding
company Amedeo collapsed in 1999 - a result of his involvement with
the Asprey & Garrard jewellery company (onlookers quipped that he
spent so much money there, he might as well buy it). The mess even
threatened to bring down BIA, the Brunei investment agency. These
losses mortified the Sultan, who had offered loans to keep afloat
struggling neighbours Thailand and Indonesia, only to discover that
Brunei could ill afford them.
Prince Jefri was restricted to a $300,000 monthly allowance while he
dealt with a civil action brought against him by the Sultan, and he
agreed to hand back all assets he had acquired during his 13 years
as the finance minister. The family feuding has cooled, but not
abated, while the Prince flits between residences in London, Paris
and the United States. He has complained that conservatives in
society set him up for a fall.
Brunei Shell Petroleum has just presented the Sultan with half a
million dollars to top up the wedding fireworks display - an odd
whiff of corporate sponsorship for a royal marriage feast - and at
least another $250,000 has been spent on landscaping the capital.
Estimates of spending on wedding finery or refreshments - not to
mention the value of heirloom jewellery - are extremely difficult to
winkle out of courtiers in a kingdom that is hypersensitive about
financial data or suggestions of creative accounting. Ever since the
Sultan's debt-ridden brother was forced by creditors to auction off
impulse buys worth £3bn, from gold toilet-brush holders to attack
helicopter flight-simulators, in an embarrassingly public jumble
sale in London three years ago, the royal family has eschewed
excess. But belt-tightening is relative.
One of the biggest quandaries for the newlyweds may be selecting
which family sedan will make the most impressive going-away car.
Earlier this year, the Sultan went right to the source, the Rolls-
Royce factory in Chichester, to pick up a dozen Phantoms for a cool
£5m. All have bullet-proof windscreens and armour-plated bodywork.
But, with the kingdom's recent emphasis on traditional Islamic rites
and royal heraldry, the bride and groom might end up riding in a
golden palanquin, hefted along by 40 strong men. The Sultan was
carried through the streets in one to celebrate his silver jubilee.
The royal lifestyle in Brunei remains impossibly extravagant. The
main family home is an art deco schlock palace, whose style is
reminiscent of Liberace or Elvis Presley. Bigger than Versailles, it
boasts 1,788 rooms, 200 bathrooms, more than 500 chandeliers, at
least 2,000 telephones and a monstrous banquet hall where 4,000 can
be seated for dinner. Pride of place is given to a Renoir painting,
bought for $70m in the 1980s. When told by his friends that this
dream house might be a bit over the top, the Sultan simply built a
less ostentatious one, where he entertains those with more minimal
Like all gatherings, there will be an unavoidable cringe factor at
the Brunei royal wedding. In order to get along with the in-laws,
Princess Sarah will soon learn that the names of certain relations
are best not mentioned. The Sultan's ex-wife, for example, is Mariam
Bell, a former flight-attendant whom he divorced last year after 21
years of marriage. Already stripped of her title, she is not
expected to attend her stepson's big day, although her four royal
offspring may take part in the ceremony. Her settlement of $3.5bn
presumably put a big dent in the wedding budget.
Even more conspicuous by his absence will be Crown Prince Billah's
flamboyant uncle Jefri, reviled by many as a black sheep whose vices
were bankrolled by black crude. He would have to break his self-
imposed exile in order to show up for his nephew's wedding -
although if he did, the bachelor party would be one to remember. It
could take place on his astonishing 152ft yacht, the SS Tits, which
used to have two speedboats on board, Nipple One and Nipple Two
(long since sold off to placate creditors).
"With their money, they could have cured diseases," one of Prince
Jefri's advisers told Fortune magazine, "but they have little
interest in the rest of humanity." However, it seems that the Sultan
wants to turn over a new (presumably gold) leaf. The time seems
inappropriate for an obscene display of wealth to rival the late
Shah of Iran's 1971 coming-out party at Persepolis. This wedding -
while opulent by most standards - will focus on folk music, ethnic
dance and fine Islamic crafts.
The House of Saud will be well represented, and Prince Bindar bin
Sultan, the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the US and a Bush family
intimate, will hobnob with Asian royal families and heads of state.
The latter include Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore's new Prime Minister,
plus leaders from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
CP of Japan and Prince Richard, duke of Gloucester arrive for the wedding
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last day of pre-wedding ceremonies
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Well, well, it's gonna be interesting to see what she'll be wearing for the actual wedding. :)
Poor girl. will they pay for her to go to university?
ofcourse they will, it's the husband's religious responsibility to pay for her education once they're married, if she choses to go to university that is.
Pictures of the couple
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