Sunday, April 24, 2011


King Mswati III, the despot of Swaziland, the tiny kingdom that relies on neighbouring South Africa for its economic and political existence, has been invited to next week’s British Royal Wedding.

Mswati, who is king to a tiny kingdom populated with about 1 million people (roughly one-seventh of the number who live in the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area) will take 50 people with him to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. He will stay at the Dorchester Hotel in London, where a room costs £450 (E5,000) a night.

So, why has he – a tin pot dictator from a land hardly anybody in Britain has heard of been invited?

The answer is that King Mswati personally hasn’t been invited, the monarch of Swaziland has. The British Royal Family are nothing if not snobs and they will invite only a certain ‘class’ of person to their weddings.

Heads of state who are not royals of Commonwealth nations are just too common. Hence Barack Obama, president of the United States has to watch the show on his television.

King Mswati makes the cut because all heads of state of Commonwealth countries who are Royals are invited.

I don’t for one moment think William or Kate have the slightest idea who King Mswati is, nor can they find Swaziland on the map. And they don’t know (or care?) that King Mswati and his state forces brutally attacked pro-democracy campaigners earlier this month and will do it again and again in the future if they are allowed to get away with it. He is simply ‘one of us’ so he must come to the wedding.

In Swaziland, the media have not yet reported that King Mswati is heading off to London. The rule in the kingdom is that they do not report on the king unless the king allows them to. Until an official announcement about the trip is made by the King’s Office, it doesn’t exist.

When the Swazi media do eventually get permission to tell King Mswati’s subjects he is off to London, they won’t report on the entourage of 50 who will go with him, nor will they mention the huge cost of the trip the poverty-stricken Swazis will have to pay for.

They are likely to say it is a great honour for King Mswati to be chosen and it shows the respect in which he is held on the international stage.

It won’t be true. The British Royal Family don’t know or care who King Mswati is but as long as he is a Royal he gets a ticket to the wedding.

Think of it this way: if the King of Swaziland was a goat, that goat would be on its way to London for the wedding.

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