The Royal Banquet to celebrate His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s 69th birthday last night saw thousands of invited guests filling the Banquet Hall of the Istana Nurul Iman.

Close to 4,000 guests, comprising state dignitaries, cabinet ministers, foreign diplomatic guests, high-ranking government officials and specially invited guests attended the Royal Banquet hosted by His Majesty and Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam. The royal banquet is an annual tradition held on the occasion of His Majesty’s birthday anniversary celebration.

Accompanying Their Majesties at the event were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Norhayati binti Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Raabi’atul Adawiyyah binti Pengiran Haji Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.

Also part of the royal entourage were Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Azemah Ni’matul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Nor’ain, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam and other members of the royal family.

Among the foreign dignitaries attending the royal banquet last night were Yang Di-Pertua of Negeri Sarawak, Tun Dato Laila Utama Pehin Sri Dr. Haji Abdul Taib bin Mahmud and spouse Yang Amat Berbahagia Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib and Sabah Chief Minister Dato Seri Paduka Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Musa bin Haji Aman.

Prior to the royal banquet, the national anthem of Brunei Darussalam was sung, followed by a Doa Selamat read by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr. Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti.

Guests, all seen regally dressed in their white traditional Malay dress and formal banquet attires were treated to a variety of sumptuous delicacies, especially prepared by the Istana’s kitchen staff. While enjoying the food spread, guests were also entertained by a blend of soothing and celebratory music played by the musical band from the Royal Brunei Police Force and Senandung Budaya from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

A fireworks display in the vicinity of the Istana Nurul Iman towards the end of the royal banquet also lifted up the atmosphere of the night, marking the beginning of two-weeks of nationwide celebration of His Majesty’s 69th Birthday anniversary.