29 JANUARY 2004
The Sultan of Brunei has been enjoying a spot of shopping in England, as only an oil magnate can. Dropping by the Rolls-Royce factory in Chichester, West Sussex, the mega-rich statesman bought no fewer than 12 Rolls-Royce Phantoms at a cost of £5 million.
The luxurious limousines all come with bullet-proof glass and body armour and they also boast plush leather interiors, cinema-style television systems and satellite navigation.
Six of the vehicles will be kept by the Sultan himself, while the remaining six are destined for his brother, Prince Jefri. "The Sultan's palace is on a scale of the Palace of Versailles, and is said to contain more than 1,700 rooms, so there is no shortage of distance to be covered," said a motor executive in Brunei. "The family have had a love affair with Rolls-Royce for more than a decade and own hundreds of these cars."
In recent years the Rolls-Royce Phantom has emerged as the ultimate A-list runabout. Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce Knowles both took delivery of theirs in 2003, while Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich has also ordered one to ferry him about while he is in London.