Mariam Azim pictured with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei at his 53rd birthday celebration.
Mariam Azim pictured with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei at his 53rd birthday celebration.Reuters

The former wife of the Sultan of Brunei lost up to £1m a day during an extended gambling spree, a court has heard.

Mariam Aziz travelled the world playing roulette for 14 hours a day and had to resort to selling jewellery to settle her gambling debts, Isleworth Crown Court was told at the trial of Aziz's former bodyguard.

Fatimah Lim, who was also formerly employed as Aziz's badminton coach and personal assistant, is on trial on three charges of theft, which she denies.

Aziz, a former air hostess, received a £4bn divorce settlement after the end of her 21-year marriage to the king of the oil-rich state in 2003, and embarked on a lavish spending spree which resulted in debts she tried to keep secret from her family.

Lim said she was ordered by Aziz to sell jewellery worth more than £18m, including two rare diamonds in rings that had been gifts from the sultan.

The former bodyguard said she earned £700 a month but members of Aziz's entourage each received £3,000 in cash when they travelled abroad with Aziz, and were given gambling chips if they accompanied her to casinos.

"I did not know what the roulette game was – there were so many numbers and rules," Lim said.

"I would just like to keep the money but Ms Aziz said I had to play. I was born into a Muslim family and gambling is not allowed in my religion."

Lim, who is also known as Waheeda Abdullah, said she was also expected to accompany her employer into toilets and wait with her in the cubicle when they visited casinos.

"I would wipe the toilet seat for her and prepare water in a bottle for her to wash and then when she finished, I had to flush whatever she had done."

The trial continues.