Patty Fenske

Written by Patty Fenske

Modified & Updated: 01 Jul 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


King Mswati III, the current ruler of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is an enigmatic figure with a fascinating story. As one of the world’s few remaining absolute monarchs, he has captured the attention of people around the globe. But beyond his title and royal status, there are numerous intriguing facts that make King Mswati III a captivating figure. From his polygamous lifestyle to his immense wealth and influence, there is much to discover about this prominent leader. In this article, we will delve into 13 intriguing facts about King Mswati III that shed light on his life, reign, and the impact he has had on his country. So, let’s embark on this journey and explore the lesser-known details about this remarkable monarch.

Key Takeaways:

  • King Mswati III of Eswatini became king at 18, has multiple wives, and is one of the wealthiest monarchs. He’s controversial but also supports education and healthcare.
  • King Mswati III is a powerful monarch with control over natural resources and land ownership. He’s known for his traditional attire and cultural patronage, and engages in diplomatic relations internationally.
Table of Contents

Ascending to the Throne at a Young Age

King Mswati III, the current monarch of Eswatini, assumed the throne at the age of 18, making him one of the youngest reigning kings in history.

Multiple Wives and Polygamous Lifestyle

King Mswati III is known for his polygamous lifestyle, having married more than a dozen wives. Polygamy is a cultural tradition in Eswatini, and the king is seen as a custodian of the practice.

An Expansive Royal Residence

The King’s official residence, known as the Ludzidzini Royal Palace, is a sprawling complex that includes multiple residences, ceremonial areas, and accommodations for the royal family and guests.

King Mswati III’s Personal Wealth

King Mswati III is considered one of the wealthiest monarchs in the world, with his net worth estimated to be in the billions. His wealth comes from various investments and assets, including ownership stakes in companies and land holdings.

The Royal Reed Dance

Every year, King Mswati III hosts the Royal Reed Dance, a traditional ceremony where thousands of young women gather to present reeds to the king and showcase their cultural heritage. It is considered one of Eswatini’s most significant cultural events.

The King’s Role in Governance

As the absolute monarch of Eswatini, King Mswati III holds significant power in governance and decision-making. He appoints the Prime Minister and government officials and has the final say in legislative matters.

A Controversial Reign

King Mswati III’s reign has been marked by controversy and criticism from human rights organizations. Critics argue that his absolute power limits democratic reforms and stifles opposition voices in the country.

The King’s Contribution to Education and Health

Despite the controversies, King Mswati III has also shown dedication to improving education and healthcare in Eswatini. He has initiated various programs and projects aimed at enhancing access to quality education and medical services.

King Mswati III’s Traditional Attire

The king is known for his distinctive traditional attire, which includes a colorful elaborately designed cloak called the umhlanga. This attire is worn during important ceremonies and cultural events.

Royal Control Over Natural Resources

King Mswati III has control over significant natural resources in Eswatini, including minerals and forestry. This control has been a subject of debate, as critics argue that it restricts equitable distribution of wealth.

The King’s Influence on Land Ownership

The king also has a significant influence on land ownership in Eswatini. He has the authority to allocate land to individuals, communities, and corporations, which has raised concerns about land rights and ownership disputes.

King Mswati III’s Cultural Patronage

As a custodian of Eswatini’s rich cultural heritage, King Mswati III plays a crucial role in preserving and promoting traditional practices, ceremonies, and dances. His support for cultural initiatives is considered vital in maintaining the country’s cultural identity.

The King’s Diplomatic Engagements

Despite Eswatini’s small size, King Mswati III actively engages in diplomatic relations with other nations. He represents Eswatini at international forums and has played a role in regional peace initiatives in Africa.


In conclusion, King Mswati III is undeniably a fascinating figure in history. From his extraordinary wealth to his numerous wives, he has captivated the world with his unique lifestyle. His reign has been marked by both controversy and development, making him a prominent figure not only in Eswatini but also on the global stage. As the last absolute monarch in Africa, his rule has sparked debates about democracy and governance. Despite this, his efforts to modernize the nation and preserve Swazi culture cannot be denied. With all his intricacies and contradictions, King Mswati III continues to intrigue and fascinate people around the world.


1. How many wives does King Mswati III have?

King Mswati III is known for having multiple wives. As of 2021, he has approximately 15 wives.

2. What is the significance of King Mswati III’s name?

The name Mswati means “the boy is good” in the Swazi language. It is a traditional name that holds great cultural significance in Eswatini.

3. How did King Mswati III come to power?

King Mswati III ascended to the throne in 1986 following the death of his father, King Sobhuza II. He was crowned at the age of 18 and became the youngest ruling monarch in the world at that time.

4. Is King Mswati III the richest monarch in the world?

King Mswati III is often regarded as one of the wealthiest monarchs in the world. His personal fortune, including assets, investments, and ownership of various companies, is estimated to be in the billions.

5. What role does King Mswati III play in Eswatini’s government?

King Mswati III is the absolute monarch of Eswatini, which means he holds ultimate authority and power over the government. However, in recent years, there have been calls for democratic reforms and a more inclusive form of governance.

6. How has King Mswati III contributed to the development of Eswatini?

During his reign, King Mswati III has launched various development programs and initiatives aimed at improving the standard of living in Eswatini. These include educational reforms, health initiatives, and infrastructure development projects.

7. Does King Mswati III have any children?

Yes, King Mswati III has a large number of children. The exact number is unknown, but estimates suggest that he has more than 30 children.

8. What is the public opinion on King Mswati III?

Public opinion on King Mswati III is diverse. Some praise his efforts to uphold Swazi traditions and his role in promoting development. However, others criticize his autocratic rule and lavish lifestyle in a country with high poverty rates.

King Mswati III's reign is filled with intriguing facts, from his ascension to the throne at a young age to his polygamous lifestyle and expansive royal residence. His influence on governance, education, health, and cultural patronage has shaped Eswatini's landscape. Delve deeper into the fascinating world of this African monarch by exploring more astounding facts about his life and rule.

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