Tintswalo Ngobeni, 22, fled to England from the southern African nation as a teenager after she caught the attention of the millionaire monarch, a notoriously oppressive ruler known for his lavish lifestyle.
As part of Swazi custom, King Mswati III, 45, is permitted to choose a new bride every year.
Miss Ngobeni, who now lives in Birmingham, was just 15 when the King made his advances after seeing her at the palace of his fourth wife, LaNgangaza. She said she was ‘terrified’ when she learned of his marriage intentions.
She added: ‘He started calling me at boarding school. He would ask me if I wanted to be a part of the royal family. I had to keep quiet about my fears but I knew I didn’t want to get married to him and have a life devoted to the king.
'His wives are kept in their palace, surrounded by bodyguards, and they can’t really go anywhere unless the king says so. The only thing they do is go to America once a year, as the king gives them a shopping allowance.'
|The Reed Dance ceremony, pictured, is known as Umhlanga and sees thousands of Swaziland's 'prettiest virgins' dance topless for King Mswati III, every August, hoping to be his next wife.|
‘I didn’t have a choice,’ she said. ‘Nobody has ever turned down the king or dares to disobey him, so I just disappeared.’
Since her arrival in England, Miss Ngobeni has become a vocal opponent of the oppressive Swazi regime, where political opposition parties are banned and activists routinely arrested or assaulted.
However, Miss Ngobeni’s high-profile activities, including weekly protests outside the Swazi embassy in London with activist group Swazi Vigil, have caught the attention of the authorities in her home country and she now believes she is in more danger than ever.