Wife of Brunei's future king gives birth to boy

The half-Swiss wife of the future king of the oil-rich sultanate of Brunei gave birth to a boy over the weekend, continuing a lineage that has ruled the country for more than 500 years.

A 19-gun salute was fired in the vicinity of the 1,788-room main palace of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the absolute ruler of the kingdom and the boy's grandfather.

Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah wed half-Swiss commoner Sarah Salleh in a pomp and grand ceremony in 2004, when she was 17.

"Birth of a prince," blared the Borneo Bulletin Monday, the main English paper in one of the region's smallest countries, which shares Borneo island with Malaysia and Indonesia.

It was not immediately clear if the prince, born Saturday into one of the world's wealthiest families, has been named.

The boy's famously extravagant grandfather controls a vast private fortune derived from oil and gas reserves that have made Brunei one of the wealthiest countries per capita, reports AP.

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

Hassanal's family holds most of the key portfolios in government, and rules behind a veil of secrecy in one of Asia's smallest but wealthiest nations.

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