According to state television, On Wednesday, Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, 63, divorced his 3rd wife Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim, 30, a former Malaysian television journalist, whom he married in 2005.
Sultan of Brunei said the divorce was granted based on “special reasons”. According to the oil-rich country’s constitution, the Sultan of Brunei “can do no wrong in either his personal or any official capacity”. “The Sultan has divorced his wife Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim and all the royal titles that have been awarded to the Sultan’s former wife have been withdrawn,” Grand chamberlain Haji Alauddin Haji Abu Bakar announced on Radio Television Brunei.
Azrinaz bore two children, adding to the Sultan’s 10 heirs from earlier marriages during their marriage. In 2005, the pair married in a private ceremony in Kuala Lumpur. Michael Jackson had been flown in to perform for the sultan’s 50th birthday, while a week of celebrations for the marriage of his eldest daughter included a concert by Stevie Wonder. Azrinaz gave birth to baby boy, Prince Abdul Wakeel, who is sultan’s 11th child, less than a year after their wedding and in 2008; she gave birth to her daughter, Princess Ameera. Other details about their divorce were not available but rumors about a royal breakup had been circulating in Brunei.
The ruler remains married to his first wife Anak Hajah Saleha, whom he wed in 1967 and their son, Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah, is heir to the throne. In October, 1981 he married Mariam Abdul Aziz, former stewardess and divorced in 2003 after a marriage of 21 years, this is a second divorce for the Sultan. Sultan still has a bond of marriage with his first wife, Saleha, who is a cousin of the Sultan even after divorcing two wives.
The sultan, the heir to an unbroken 600-year Muslim dynasty, is one of the world’s richest royals with a private fortune estimated to total at least US$20bn. In 1967, Hassanal Bolkiah came to the throne as the kingdom’s 29th sultan upon the abdication of his father. The sultan and his family have become symbols of lavish royal excess. The sultan’s free-spending brother Prince Jefri was accused of siphoning off £8bn during his time as finance minister, a charge he denies.
However, the kingdom’s citizens have also benefited from the natural resource wealth with a comprehensive welfare system including generous health, education and housing provision. The sultan has a reputed £4bn car collection including a fleet of Rolls-Royces. While playing polo with Prince Charles, he once had his polo shoes delivered by helicopter to the playing field.