The Extravagant Royal Wedding of Princess Azemah and Prince Bahar of Brunei

Royal wedding of Princess of Brunei

This is the first royal wedding of 2023! And it's a Royal Wedding in the real sense of the word because both the bride and the groom are of royal blood. In fact, they are first cousins!

We have not heard of blood-related couples marrying in the royal world since the wedding of Princess Olga of Greece (second cousin of King Charles III as the daughter of Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark) and her second cousin Prince Aimone of Savoy, now the 6th Duke of Savoy-Aosta, in 2008.

The father of the bride, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei is the current longest-reigning monarch in the world (reigning since October 1967), and one of the world's richest persons. While the father of the groom is Sultan Bolkiah's younger brother, the controversial billionaire and former Finance Minister of Brunei, Prince Jefri Bolkiah.

Prince Bahar and Prince Azemah on their way to their wedding reception 

Wedding of princess Azemah of Brunei
Prince Bahar Bolkiah of Brunei and Princess Azemah Bolkiah of Brunei 

The Bolkiah royal brothers are two of the world's immensely rich royals who once had a bitter fallout over a corruption scandal allegations while Prince Jefri was still Brunei's Finance Minister and Head of Brunei Investment Agency. 

Their feud over money embezzlement allegation turned  into the most expensive legal battle fought between brothers, exposing their lavish lifestyle, controversial private lives, extramarital affairs, and unimaginable wealth.

Thus, the wedding of their children came as a big surprise to royal enthusiasts, however, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah had already forgiven his brother in 2009, after a decade of estrangement.

Wedding of princess Azemah of Brunei
©Tengku Arif Instagram 

Wedding of princess Azemah of Brunei

The marriage of Prince Azemah and Prince Bahar is more than just love and keeping wealth within the family, it means family reconciliation and unity. And forgiveness, putting the bitterness and hatred between the royal brothers behind.

Princes Azemah Ni'matul Bolkiah, who was born on September 26, 1984, is the 8th child and 5th daughter of Sultan Bolkiah by his second wife, Hajah Mariam. She is the full-blood sibling of Prince Mateen, one of Asia's most popular princes and one of the world's most eligible bachelors.

Wedding of princess Azemah of Brunei

The princess is a national athlete and a member of Brunei's national polo team with her brother, Prince Mateen, Prince Bahar, and her uncle (and now her father-in-law) Prince Jefri Bolkiah. They competed during the 2017 (Malaysia) and 2019 (Philippines) Southeast Asian Games and finished with the bronze medal.

Wedding of princess Azemah of Brunei

The groom, Prince Bahar ibni Jefri Bolkiah, is the son of Prince Jefri Bolkiah. He is an accomplished polo player and has been representing Brunei in many tournaments around the world. He is also the president of the New York Palace Hotel, owned by his father.

Born on August 20, 1981, Prince Bahar is currently 21st in the line of succession to the Bruneian throne. His father, owned luxury palaces, hotels, luxury cars, yachts, private airplanes including a Boeing 747, expensive properties in London, Paris, and New York. And a mansion in Brunei with a 30-foot rock crystal waterfall.

Wedding of princess Azemah of Brunei
Prince Mateen and the newlyweds ©tmski Instagram 

The week-long wedding celebration showcased the immense wealth of the Brunei royal family, with the royal bride wearing jaw-dropping diamond tiaras, three stunning wedding dresses, and a royal reception hall covered with imported blooms, gilded chairs, and walls.

Royal weddings in Brunei provide loads of entertainment in the tiny oil-rich state. In a country where strict laws, including drinking alcohol, are currently observed, shows and leisure are very limited. Thus, royal weddings give a breather to the citizens. 

Wedding of princess Azemah of Brunei

The 10-day royal wedding extravaganza began on January 11, 2023, with the traditional ceremony of Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja, or the Royal Powdering Ceremony, at Balai Singgahsana Indera Buana in Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of Sultan Bolkiah. 

At the grand wedding reception 

This traditional ceremony follows a unique ritual of blessing the bride and groom with colored rice powder and scented oils on their hands.

It was followed by an Islamic wedding ceremony at the Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque and concluded with the final wedding ceremony called Royal Bersanding Ceremony at the Istana Nuru Iman Palace. The extravagant reception was also held at Istana.

Wedding of princess Azemah of Brunei
The three wedding dresses of Princess Azemah of Brunei 

Princess Azemah wore three spectacular gowns for the week-long celebration. Her bridal ensembles included an ivory crystal-embellished gown with a matching veil held in place by a huge diamond tiara. 

Her outfit for the reception, a glittering charcoal grey piece, was accessorized with an impressive diamond necklace featuring three teardrop stones as the centerpiece. And another sparkling headpiece. She also wore a crimson red dress at one of the traditional ceremonies and a gold headpiece. 

The newlyweds with the Malaysian royals © Tengku Arif IG 

The Malaysian royals attending the wedding © Tengku Arif IG 
Wedding of Princess Azemah Bolkiah of Beu6
The Malaysian royals with the newlyweds ©Tengku Arif IG 

The Sultan and His Brother

His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and His Highness Prince Jefri Bolkiah had once a close relationship. The Sultan had always been warm to his brother despite the fact that Prince Jefri was known for his unimaginable lavish lifestyle and being a notorious royal playboy.

In the 1980s Sultan Bolkiah was the world's richest person with a reported fortune of $40 billion. In 1983 he appointed Prince Jefri Head of Brunei Investment Agency and subsequently Finance Minister. 

Wedding of princess Azemah of Brunei
Prince Jefri with the newlyweds, and Prince Bahar's mother 

But in 1997, it was discovered through an audit (due to the Asian financial crisis) that more than $13 billion remained unaccounted.

It began a bitter feud between the royal brothers. Prince Jefri insisted all the withdrawals were authorized by the Sultan. His Majesty countered that his brother embezzled the money.

Prince Jefri was forced to sign a settlement agreement to give up some of his assets to settle the amount. He left Brunei and lived in London and New York. Their feud resulted into the world's most expensive lawsuits between brothers.

Wedding of princess Azemah of Brunei
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah with the newlyweds and Princess Azemah's mother 

But in 2009, it was reported that the Sultan had forgiven his brother and Prince Jefri returned to Brunei. He also began appearing in public together with the Brunei royal family.

From left: Tengku Arif Temenggong of Pahang, his nephew Crown Prince Hassanal Ibrahim of Pahang, and Prince Mateen of Brunei ©Tengku Arif IG 

Malaysian royals attended the wedding including the irresistible Tengku (prince) Arif Temenggong of Pahang (a sultanate state in Malaysia), the younger brother of the Sultan of Pahang, Abdullah Ibni Ahmad Shah, and his nephew, Crown Prince Hassanal Ibrahim.

Tengku Arif Temenggong of Pahang
Tengku Arif Temenggong of Pahang

The hot prince often caught the attention of royal enthusiasts because of his good looks, some dubbed him as the real "prince charming" because of his handsomeness. 😍

Congratulations and best wishes to the Prince Bahar and Princess Azemah Bolkiah of Brunei! 🎉

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