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A special king turns 60

A special monarch is turning 60 today.

King Letsie III of Lesotho marks his 60th birthday, 27 years into his reign of the African kingdom.

He was born Seeiso Bereng on 17 July 1963 to King Moshoeshoe II and Queen Mamohato as the eldest of their three children. He has a younger brother, Prince Seeiso (who is close friends with the Duke of Sussex) and Princess Constance.

At the time of his birth, Lesotho was a British colony called Basutoland, but it soon gained its independence in 1966 and became Lesotho.

Seeiso Bereng was educated in the United Kingdom at Ampleforth College before undertaking his university education back home at the University of Lesotho, where he studied law. He has several degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Law from the University of Lesotho, English Legal Studies from the University of Bristol, Development Studies from Wolfson College, Cambridge and Agricultural Economics from Wye College.

The Prince has been monarch twice. The first time was from 12 November 1990 – 25 January 1995, after his father was forced into exile. Moshoeshoe II was restored in 1995 but died in a car crash on 15 January 1996. From that time until 7 February 1996, Seeiso Bereng’s mother served as Regent.

On 31 October 1997, King Letsie had his coronation at Setsoto Stadium in Maseru. The now King Charles III attended on behalf of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Letsie is the only monarch of his kind in Africa – a Roman Catholic. He promotes Catholicism in his kingdom and is a member of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George. Over 90% of Mosothos are Christians.

Like monarchs in Europe, the King of Lesotho holds a mainly ceremonial role as a constitutional monarch.

The King is said to love farming and spending time in the country.

King Letsie married Karabo Motšoeneng on 18 February 2000 in Setsoto Stadium in a ceremony conducted by Archbishop Bernard Mohlalisi. The pair had met in 1996 and became engaged in 1999. She was the first commoner to marry a member of Lesotho’s Royal Family.

The couple have three children: Princess Senate (b. 2001), Princess ‘Maseeiso (b. 2004) and Prince Lerotholi (b. 2007). Neither princess is in the line of succession as women are barred from ascending the throne in the country; however, the country has seen support for a change in the laws of succession.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. She's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.