Brunei's Prince Abdul Mateen marries commoner in lavish ceremony; gun salutes fired at royal wedding (WATCH)
Prince Abdul Mateen of Brunei and his bride, 29-year-old Yang Mulia Anisha Rosnah, participated in an Islamic marriage ceremony held within the grandeur of a gold-domed mosque in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan.
Prince Abdul Mateen of Brunei, known for his prowess in polo and considered one of Asia's most eligible bachelors, exchanged vows with his commoner fiancée on Thursday, marking the commencement of an opulent 10-day celebration in the affluent sultanate. The 32-year-old prince and his bride, 29-year-old Yang Mulia Anisha Rosnah, participated in an Islamic marriage ceremony held within the grandeur of a gold-domed mosque in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan.
Mateen, who is the 10th child of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the world's longest-reigning monarch and former richest person globally, holds a position further down in the line of succession.
The bride, Yang Mulia Anisha Rosnah, is said to be the granddaughter of one of Prince Mateen's father's prominent advisers and is known to have her own fashion brand, in addition to co-owning a tourism business.
For the ceremony, Prince Mateen donned a traditional white ensemble adorned with diamond-shaped motifs, complemented by a matching headpiece. He arrived at the mosque in style, being chauffeured in a luxurious saloon.
Seated on an elevated yellow cushion, Prince Mateen participated in the male-only ceremony led by an imam. The event was graced by the presence of the sultan, along with other relatives and distinguished guests.
Following the ceremony, Prince Mateen approached his father and reverently kissed his hand. Meanwhile, Royal Brunei's Military Police fired gun salutes after Mateen's solemnization as part of the royal wedding at Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque.
The pinnacle of the royal wedding celebrations is anticipated on Sunday, featuring a dazzling ceremony within the expansive 1,788-room palace and a grand procession. The guest list is poised to include an array of international royalty and political leaders.
"It's like a fairytale," university student Syahida Wafa Mohamed Shah, 22, told AFP on Wednesday, near the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, where the marriage was solemnised.
On Sunday, numerous Bruneians are anticipated to gather along the streets, eager to witness the royal newlyweds participate in a grand procession.
"It feels like a scene straight out of a movie," expressed Nazatul Izzati Saifulrizal, aged 19.
The opulence and grandeur of the royal spectacle underscore the immense wealth of the tiny nation, primarily fueled by its vast oil reserves.
Situated on the northern edge of Borneo island in Southeast Asia, Brunei was initially influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism until its rulers embraced Islam in the 14th century. Following British rule in the 19th century, the country achieved independence in 1984.
Operating as an absolute monarchy with stringent Islamic laws and boasting a population of around 450,000, Brunei stands among the world's wealthiest nations. With an annual GDP per capita approaching US$36,000, as per the International Monetary Fund, the nation grapples with the challenge of diversifying its economy due to the volatility of crude prices and the gradual depletion of its reserves, as cautioned by analysts.
Although the sultan has relinquished the title of the world's wealthiest individual to tech billionaires, his fortune continues to be the stuff of legend.
Known for possessing an extensive collection of luxury vehicles, the sultan's official residence by the riverside is renowned as one of the largest palaces globally.
While Prince Mateen is unlikely to ascend the throne, his striking looks and substantial social media following have elevated him to one of the most prominent members of the royal family.
Serving as a helicopter pilot in his country's air force, he has frequently drawn comparisons in the media to Britain's Prince Harry and has earned the moniker of the "hot royal."
A graduate of Britain's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Mateen represented Brunei in polo at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Over the years, he has assumed an increasing role in international diplomacy.
The prince accompanied his father to the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla in May of the previous year, as well as attending Queen Elizabeth's funeral in 2022.