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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prince Charles, Jackson Dine At Sultan's 50th

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei -- Prince Charles, Michael Jackson and about 3,000 guests from around the world attended an extravagant 50th birthday dinner for the world's richest man Monday.


The private dinner hosted by Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah was held in one of the halls at his home -- the 1,778-room Istana Nurul Iman palace, the world's largest residence.


The palace on the banks of Brunei River was lit up by floodlights, glowing like a giant pearl. All around, the usually laid-back Brunei capital was bedecked with tens of thousands of colored lights, flags and bunting as the oil-rich sultanate enjoyed its most lavish party. Celebrations will last 15 days.


A London production company has been hired to make a wide-screen state-of-the art digital home video of the sultan's party. Edit suites have been set up at the palace for a team of cameramen, editors and producers.


Jackson, said to be the sultan's favorite pop star, arrived Saturday in the Borneo island country and will give a public concert on Tuesday. But fans won't have to pay to hear him -- the sultan is picking up the undisclosed tab.


Jackson's concert will officially inaugurate a man-made garden in a multibillion-dollar amusement park, built by the sultan as a gift to his 200,000 subjects and tourists. Entrance to the park and rides are free.


The sultan can afford to be generous. One of the world's few absolute monarchs, Hassanal presides over his tiny kingdom's vast oil income and foreign currency reserves estimated at more than $37 billion. In comparison, Microsoft's Bill Gates, the world's richest private citizen, has an estimated fortune of only $18 billion.


The sultan earns $100 a second from oil earnings and various investments, which amounts to $2 billion a year.


The celebrations began early Monday when the sultan, dressed in a medal-covered military uniform, inspected a military parade at a stadium in the city center. In attendance were government officials, businessmen, diplomats and the sultan's foreign guests.


Hassanal also is the country's prime minister and defense minister.