Brunei is a country of Muslim faith, exotic culture, delicious foods, verdant forests, golden towers, and interesting museums. There are four leading museums, one of which is the Royal Regalia Museum. The other museums are Brunei Museum, the Arts and Handicraft Center, and Brunei History Center.
Established in 1972, the Royal Regalia Museum stands at the heart of Brunei’s capital, Bandar Seri Begawan among an array of royal buildings, cultural centers and historical spots. This museum is specifically dedicated to the sultan and was, in fact, inaugurated to commemorate the Royal Jubilee or the sultan’s 25th year anniversary of service as the country’s supreme leader.
When visiting Brunei, make sure to visit this repository of national treasures if you wish to better understand and appreciate the sultan, Brunei’s royal family, the country’s history, culture and people. You will be amazed to see an assortment of artifacts that pay homage to the supreme ruler. On display are his royal chariots, crown jewels, a replica of his throne, royal armory, and so on. There are also old documents that chronicle the life of the sultan and his rise to the throne. Such writings will help you picture out the country’s 600-year history as a sultanate.
Since the sultan represents the seat of government and the constitution, the museum also exhibits artifacts and items related to the national constitution. The Royal Regalia wishes not only to entertain its visitors but also educate them on the country’s history, culture, and political beliefs, as well as about the royal family.
This museum is also known as Bangunan Alat Kebesaran Diraja to locals. Its hall was built on where the Winston Churchill Memorial Building used to stand. Brunei has a long history with the British since this tiny Southeast Asian sultanate used to be under the control of the British Government. Brunei gained its independence only recently in 1984. The Royal Regalia was constructed in 1971. Its building features a circular gallery with a majestic mosaic-tiled dome. When the sultan was crowned here in 1972 during the Royal Jubilee, the coronation carriage was surrounded by regalia from the crowning ceremony. Hence, the museum was named Royal Regalia.
As the country earned its independence in 1984, a Constitutional History Gallery was constructed to the left side of the museum’s main entrance. This gallery showcases original documents, old photographs, rare films and recordings, the signed Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the British, and Brunei’s first written constitution. To the right of the gallery is a chronicle of the sultan’s life as a young student in Brunei, Malaysia and then in Britain’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Another museum highlight is a gallery depicting the sultan’s coronation in Lapau in 1968. The exhibit includes pictures, models, documents, the golden crown, the sultan’s silver kris (traditional dagger), costume, and musical instruments.
These are just a few of the things you will see and enjoy when visiting the Royal Regalia Museum. It is open from Saturday to Thursday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and on Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and then from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.