BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei: Lavish celebrations for the wedding of Brunei’s Prince Abdul Mateen and his wife climaxed on Sunday with a glittering ceremony attended by government leaders and blue-blooded guests from around the world.
Mateen, 32, and Yang Mulia Anisha Rosnah, 29, made their first public appearance as a married couple in a procession through the normally sleepy capital Bandar Seri Begawan that drew thousands of onlookers.
The popular prince was Asia’s most eligible bachelor until Thursday when he tied the knot with Anisha Rosnah, who is from a prominent family in Brunei.
Mateen, 32, was one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors until he married his 29-year-old fiancee in a male-only ceremony at a mosque in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan.
As the 10th child and fourth son of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, he is unlikely to ever ascend the throne of the oil-rich country on the northern edge of Borneo island.
Yet, Mateen’s matinee idol looks, rippling six-pack and sense of adventure — captured in photos and videos that are carefully curated on Instagram — have turned him into a public relations asset for the royal family, which has been battered by scandals and global censure over the years.
“He’s a breath of fresh air,” said Bruneian snack store worker Amyra Syahira Awang Ahmad, 20, who is among Mateen’s 2.5 million Instagram followers.
A pre-wedding photo of Mateen and his fiancee, Yang Mulia Anisha Rosnah, posted on Instagram on December 31 shows him wearing an open-neck white shirt under a dark, double-breasted blazer, while she is in a cream pantsuit and no hijab.
It drew more than 11,000 comments with some smitten followers lamenting that 2024 was starting with “heartbreak” - a reference to their own rather than the prince’s.
Mateen’s father is Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the world’s longest reigning monarch and once the richest man on the planet.
The sultan announced the engagement in October of Mateen and Anisha, who is the granddaughter of the ruler’s special advisor.
Mateen had accompanied his father to the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla in May last year, and Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in 2022.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have earlier confirmed their attendance.
Sunday’s celebration was the highlight of 10 days of pomp and pageantry in the tiny country whose extreme wealth is derived almost entirely from its enormous oil and gas reserves.
Mateen, a British-trained military officer in Brunei’s armed forces and a helicopter pilot, held court with his wife at an elaborate ceremony at the sprawling Istana Nurul Iman palace, with invited guests in attendance.
The ceremony was steeped in tradition drawn from Brunei’s centuries-old history as an Islamic monarchy.
Thousands of the sultan’s subjects were lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the couple.