LONDON: The sultan of Brunei is now the world’s longest-serving monarch following the death on Thursday of Elizabeth II, who was the queen of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms.
Hassanal Bolkiah, who ascended to the throne in 1967, has reigned for 54 years and 339 days.
His reign is four years longer than that of Danish Queen Margrethe II, who is now the world’s second-longest reigning monarch.
Before her sudden passing on Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-serving monarch in the world. Her platinum jubilee — marking 70 years since her coronation — was celebrated in June.
Bolkiah was reportedly good friends with the queen, with the sultanate and Britain enjoying a close relationship marked by several ceremonial associations.
Members of the Brunei royal family hold several honorary positions in the British Armed Forces.
Bolkiah was knighted by the queen, an honor that was also bestowed upon his father, and the pair met on serval occasions in both London and Brunei’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan.