When King Mswati III of Swaziland did a runner from the Dorchester Hotel, London, because he didn’t want to hear the pro-democracy demonstrators outside his window, he didn’t exactly have to sleep on the streets.
Instead, he moved a little further down Park Lane into the Four Seasons Hotel.
There he has set up his stall for the duration of his stay in London, where he is one of 1,900 ‘close friends’ of William and Kate at the British Royal Wedding.
King Mswati is widely reported to have flown to London with an entourage of 50 people.
The Four Seasons isn’t a budget Motel 6. Here are the room prices. Please note that these are the prices per night, not per year.
Seven in ten of King Mswati’s subjects are so poor they live on less than US$2 a day; three in ten are so hungry they are medically diagnosed as malnourished and Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world.
Swaziland is experiencing an economic meltdown back home where unemployment is about 40 percent and government budgets have been cut by 20 percent for the coming year. At the same time the budget for King Mswati has risen by 23 per cent this year.
The IMF is calling for severe economic measures in Swaziland before it backs a loan for US$100 million from the African Development Bank. About 7,000 public servants are expected to lose their jobs as a result.
The king was estimated by Forbes in 2009 to have a personal fortune of US$ 200 million.
So, here’s the price list for the Four Seasons. Don’t think King Mswati personally will pick up the tab: it’ll be the poor people of Swaziland who will pay for him ... as they always have to.
Exchange rate: £100 = E1,110 = US$165
Standard Room £495.00
Superior Room £510.00
Deluxe Room £610.00
Premier Room £625.00
Executive Conservatory Suite £1,100.00
Westminster Suite £1,200.00
Mayfair Suite £1,400.00
Ambassador Suite £1,700.00
Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite £2,600.00
Park Suite £3,000.00
Executive One-Bedroom Suite £3,000.00
Grand One-Bedroom Suite £4,500.00
Garden Suite £5,000.00
The Blue £6,000.00
Presidential Suite £8,750.00