King: Mswati III
King Mswati III was crowned in 1986 at the age of 18, succeeding his long-serving father King Sobhuza II, who died at the age of 82.
The king, who is known as Ngweyama - "the lion" - often appears in public in traditional dress and has many wives.
He rules by decree and has been criticised for the heavy-handed treatment of opponents. The king has also been criticised for requesting public money to pay for new palaces, a personal jet and luxury cars. Street protests led him to abandon the aircraft purchase.
Protesters angered by economic decline have become increasingly vocal in demanding political reform.