Born on 15 July 1946 in Brunei Town (now Bandar Seri Begawan), Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'issaddin Waddautah is the first son of the late Sultan Muda Omar All Si Fidem. In childhood he was educated at home by tutors at Istana and in schools in Brunei and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 1961, at age 15, Hassanal Bolkiah was installed as the crown prince and invested with the family order of Darjah Kerabat First Class. While attending Britain's Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, he was suddenly recalled to succeed his abdicating father. Although he did not finish his education, the academy later awarded him an honorary commission. Installed as the new ruler of Brunei on 5 October 1967, Hassanal Bolkiah's official coronation took place on 1 August 1968 in a lavish ceremony.
Hassanal Bolkiah is one of the most accessible leaders in the world. He has no bodyguard, and he moves among his people with ease, frequently making helicopter tours of outlying villages. His hobbies include fancy cars and polo, and he loves sports. With a fortune of US $30 billion, he is also considered to be one of the three wealthiest men in the world. He is married to Her Majesty Raja Isteri Penigran Anak Hajjah Saleha and Her Royal Highness Penigran Isteri Hajjah Mariam. He has ten children—four princes and six princesses.