House of Bolkiah

The House of Bolkiah is the ruling royal family of Brunei Darussalam. It is composed of the descendants of the 1st sultan Sultan Muhammad Shah and his family. The Sultan of Brunei is the head of state and absolute monarch of Brunei. He is also head of government in his capacity as Prime Minister.[1]

House of Bolkiah
Royal family
Emblem of the Sultan of Brunei
Hassanal Bolkiah in 2009
Parent familyBanu Qatadah
CountryBrunei Darussalam (previously the Bruneian Empire)
Place of originAllegedly Tarim, Emirate of Zabid
Founded1363 or 1368
FounderSultan Muhammad Shah
Current headHassanal Bolkiah
TitlesSultan of Brunei
Crown Prince of Brunei

Since independence from the British in 1984, only one Sultan has reigned, though the royal institution dates back to the 14th century.[2] The Sultan of Brunei can be thought of as synonymous with the ruling House of Bolkiah, with descendency being traced from the 1st Sultan Muhammad Shah's brother the 2nd Sultan Ahmad through and his daughter Puteri Ratna Kesuma, the wife of the 3rd Sultan Sharif Ali, a Sayyid and grandson of Emir Rumaythah ibn Abi Numayy of Mecca. The 13th Sultan Abdul Hakkul Mubin was an exception to familial succession, but he ascended after murdering the 12th Sultan Muhammad Ali and was in turn killed by the 14th Sultan Muhyiddin. It is not clear when the house became known as the 'House of Bolkiah', and whether it was named after the current 29th Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, or the 5th Sultan Bolkiah.


The full title of the Sultan is: His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam (Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan dan Yang di-Pertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam).[1]

Today, the surname Bolkiah is carried by any descendant of the House of Bolkiah. Members of the royal household hold high and influential positions in government.

Sons and grandsons of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah are referred to in the style "His Royal Highness" (HRH) or "Pengiran Muda" in Malay, differing from the royals belonging to the cadet branches which are addressed as "The Lord" (HH) or "Pengiran Anak" in Malay.


The core of the Brunei Royal Family is made up of the immediate family of the incumbent Sultan of Brunei;

Only Hassanal Bolkiah and his two sons; Al-Muhtadee Billah and Abdul Mateen carry out government duties full-time, mainly for the Prime Minister's Office and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. The Sultan's sister, Princess Masna Bolkiah, is the current Ambassador-At-Large to the United Nations representing the Brunei government and the only extended royal member to be part of the working royals.

Other members of the royal family with royal rank who do not carry out official duties are the Sultan's siblings, and their children are considered to be part of the lesser royal members;

  • Prince Mohammad Bolkiah
  • Prince Sufri Bolkiah
  • Prince Jefri Bolkiah
  • Princess Norain Bolkiah
  • Princess Umi Kalthum Al-Islam Bolkiah
  • Princess Amal Rakiah Bolkiah
  • Princess Amal Nasibah Bolkiah
  • Princess Amal Jefriah Bolkiah

List of Sultans

See also


  1. "Prime Minister". The Prime Minister's Office of Brunei Darussalam. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  2. "Sultan-Sultan Brunei" (in Malay). Government of Brunei. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
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