#Throwback Thursday: The Sultan of Brunei Spent $27 Million On His 50th Birthday Party

Leah Bourne

Wedding of the daughter of the sultan of Brunei one of the world's wealthiest men
It’s no secret that Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei leads a seriously excessive life. The man owns over 3,000 luxury cars after all. In 1996, the Sultan decided to top himself by throwing one of the most over-the-top parties in history to celebrate his 50th birthday. Read on for the details. Something tells us the Entenmann’s birthday cake you get every year on your birthday will never look the same.
Venue: Brunei (the country) was the venue for the affair. There was a polo match and a concert held in a stadium erected just for the birthday celebration. The two week event culminated at a dinner held in the Sultan’s 1,778 room palace lit up with floodlights.
Guest List: The 3,000 person guest list included Prince Charles, Michael Jackson, and many world leaders.
Food: Free flowing champagne and Beluga caviar of course. Essentially, nothing was deemed too extravagant for the bash.
Entertainment: Nothing but the King of Pop would do. The Sultan reportedly paid Michael Jackson $16 million to perform at the party. Jackson performed at the Jerudong Amusement Park in Brunei and 60,000 people were in attendance.  He also performed two other smaller concerts for the Sultan’s special guests.
Fun Fact: Guests didn’t leave the party empty handed. Everyone was gifted a gold medal.
Cost: The two-week-long party reportedly cost $27 million (in today’s dollars that is roughly $40 million). Keep in mind, this is a man who reportedly pays his badminton coach $2 million per year. According to Forbes the party accounted for .1 percent of the Sultan’s net-worth that year. In other words, he could afford it.