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Sultan of Brunei's 50th Birthday Party

The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, and his second wife, Hajah Mariam, look slightly solemn during the sultan's 50th birthday celebrations in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Francis Silvan/AFP/Getty Images

It's not every day that you turn 50. And some people, unfortunately, never reach this milestone. Which may explain why Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei decided to celebrate the conclusion of his first five decades on Earth in style. To say the least.

The sultan began his blow-out celebration with a military march, followed by a polo match with Great Britain's Prince Charles [source: Bost]. He then gathered together several thousand of his best friends for a dinner that included the finest champagne and caviar available. He also flew in Michael Jackson to warble some tunes for his guests, although he didn't attend this portion of his birthday bash for some reason. Total cost: $27 million ($16 million of which went toward the concert) [source: Motilo].

The sultan turned 50 back in 1996. In 2012 dollars, his $27 million extravaganza would have cost $40 million [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]. Not surprisingly, the sultan is one of the richest people in the world.

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