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Brunei's sultan announces divorce from Malaysian wife of 5 years

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei (AP) — Brunei's sultan announced Wednesday he is divorcing his Malaysian wife after five years of marriage.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the 63-year-old absolute monarch of this tiny, oil-rich country on Borneo island, married Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim, a former Malaysian TV news journalist, in 2005.

Azrinaz, 30, gave birth to the sultan's 11th child, a baby boy, less than a year after their wedding and a daughter in 2008.

Brunei's palace announced on state television and radio late Wednesday that the sultan has divorced Azrinaz and revoked all her royal titles. No other details were made available, but rumors of a royal breakup had been circulating in Brunei.

This is the second divorce for the sultan, whose private fortune has been estimated to total at least $20 billion in recent years. He broke up with former airline stewardess Mariam Abdul Aziz, who is of Bruneian, Japanese and Scottish ancestry, in February 2003 after 21 years of marriage.

He remains married to his first wife, Anak Saleha, whom he wed in 1967. Their son, Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah, is heir to the throne.

The sultan ascended to the throne on Oct. 5, 1967, after his father abdicated.

The sultan's wealth is legendary. While playing polo with Britain's Prince Charles, he once had his polo shoes delivered — by helicopter — to the palace field.