Pomp and pageantry of Brunei royal wedding highlights wealth of tiny nation

Prince Abdul Mateen and Anisha Rosnah's 10-day celebration will culminate in a glittering ceremony

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As Bruneians prepare to line the streets on Sunday to catch a glimpse of Prince Abdul Mateen and his new bride Anisha Rosnah, the extravagant royal wedding has gripped the world's attention and showcased the tiny country's vast wealth and influence.

Celebrations for the 10-day event will reach a climax on Sunday with an elaborate procession through the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. From there, a glittering ceremony will be held at the 1,788-room palace.

The guest list is expected to include international royalty and political leaders, with Britain's Prince and Princess of Wales as well as Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein and Princess Rajwa rumoured to be attending.

Where is Brunei?

A sliver of land on the northern edge of Borneo island in South-east Asia, Brunei was influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism before its rulers converted to Islam in the 14th century.It fell under British rule in the 19th century and gained independence in 1984.

Brunei is an absolute monarchy with a population of about 450,000. It is one of the world's richest countries, with its wealth almost entirely derived from its enormous oil reserves. Its annual GDP per capita is nearly $36,000, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The currency is the Brunei dollar; B$1 is equivalent to Dh2.76 and US$0.75.

Known for its safe streets and low crime rates, Brunei is a tourist haven thanks to its beaches (the coastline is more than 160km long) and undisturbed rainforests.

The country's current ruler Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is the world's longest-reigning monarch and resides in a riverside palace, which is one of the largest owned by any royal family.

Elaborate wedding ceremonies

Prince Mateen, 32, is the fourth son of the sultan. His bride-to-be Rosnah, 29, is the granddaughter of one of the sultan's advisers. The couple had been dating for several years before the sultan announced their engagement in October.

Wedding celebrations began on Sunday with a lavish ceremony where the groom's family officially declared their intention to marry the bride. The next day, there was a performance by royal court musicians to formally herald the start of the celebrations.

On Tuesday, the third day, an engagement ceremony included the groom's family bringing symbolic gifts to the bride's residence.

It was followed by a powdering ceremony on the fourth day. In this ceremony, members of the groom and bride's families apply powder to the couple's hands.

The marriage was officially solemnised at a male-only ceremony in Brunei on Thursday. The Islamic marriage ceremony was held inside the gold-domed Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan. It was attended by the sultan, as well as relatives.

Dressed in traditional white wedding attire decorated with diamond-shaped motifs and a matching headpiece, Prince Mateen affirmed the acceptance of the Akad Nikah or marriage solemnisation. Afterwards, he approached his father and kissed his hand. A 17-gun salute was then fired to mark the conclusion of the ceremony.

Prince Mateen was then driven out of the mosque in a luxury saloon and waved to onlookers who were waiting to catch a glimpse of the groom.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: January 12, 2024, 10:57 AM