Sultan of Brunei becomes longest-serving living monarch after Queen Elizabeth's death
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: PjrNews / Alamy Stock Photo/Shutterstock
The passing of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday stunned the entire world after an astonishing 70 years of her service, which had previously made her the longest-serving monarch on the planet.
Her Majesty’s death has left the United Kingdom in mourning as King Charles III’s ascends the throne.
With Charles III just beginning his reign as the new head of state, another monarch has taken top spot in the longest-serving stakes.
Bolkiah ascended to the throne in 1967 and has led a very different reign to that of Elizabeth II.
The United Kingdom has a constitutional monarchy, meaning that the role of the British monarch is largely ceremonial. It is the Prime Minister that exercises the powers under what is known as the 'Royal or Crown Prerogative'.
However, it would be fair to say that the Sultan of Brunei plays a much more active role in the running of his country, since gaining independence of the United Kingdom in 1984, also serving as Brunei's Prime Minister.
While the Queen was universally loved throughout the world, the same can not be said for Bolkiah.
His country’s human rights record has raised plenty of concerns, along with his questionable business dealings over the years.
The Sultan operates in an absolute monarchy, meaning that the head of state has full executive power under the country’s 1959 constitution.
He is literally ‘above the law’ after reportedly changing the constitution in 2006 to ensure he can do whatever he wants.
Bolkiah also has many titles, having also acquired the positions of Minister of Defence, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance. To top it off, the country’s police force also falls under his control.
However, Brunei’s head of state does not view equality and human rights so fondly. In his role of Head of Religion, he sought to implement Islamic sharia penalties, including death by stoning, severing of limbs and flogging.
Those from an LGBT background will not be able to expect a warm welcome in the country, as homosexuality is punishable by death from stoning.
Although, widespread international outcry prompted Bolkiah to backtrack on some of his harsh laws, which includes the death penalty for being gay.
This led to a moratorium being established in 2019, meaning that while the penalty for gay sex is still officially death by stoning, the Sultan has agreed it will not be used.