The current king of Lesotho, Letsie III, was born on July 17, 1963, in Scott Hospital in the city of Morija, Lesotho. He was the son of King Moshoeshoe II and his wife ‘Mamohato Bereing Seeiso and named Seeso Bereng but christened “David” in the Roman Catholic church. The young prince attended primary school from 1968 to 1972 at the Iketsetseng Primary School in Lesotho’s capital city, Maseru. He completed his primary education at Gilling Castle School in the United Kingdom and then attended Ampleforth College in York, England for his high school years from 1977 to 1980.
Between 1980 and 1984, Letsie III studied at the National University of Lesotho where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in law. Between 1984 and 1986, he attended the University of Bristol earning a diploma in English legal studies. He then studied at Cambridge University and the University of London between 1988 and 1989.
In 1986 Major General Justin Lekhanya led a military coup overthrowing the government of Leabua Jonathan, Lesotho’s first Prime Minister. Over the next few years, Lekhanya curtailed and, later, suspended King Moshoeshoe II’s executive powers. In 1990 the king went into exile in England. While in exile Moshoeshoe attempted to initiate democratic elections and, as a result, was deposed. The government, controlled by General Lekhanya, replaced the king with his eldest son, Letsie III who agreed not to become involved in the kingdom’s politics. On November 12, 1990, Letsie III was sworn in as king. His father, Moshoeshoe, still in exile, however, continued to be popular with the people of Lesotho.
In 1991 the government was again overthrown by the army this time led by Major-General Elias Ramaema who started laying plans for free elections in Lesotho and who wanted Moshoeshoe II to be reinstated as king. Free elections were held in 1993. With the assistance of Letsie III and Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Moshoeshoe II was reinstated as king of Lesotho on Jan. 25, 1995. His son, Letsie III, abdicated the same day.
King Moshoeshoe II died on January 15, 1996, when his car plunged over an embankment outside Maseru, the capital city. On February 7, Letsie III was reinstated as King of Lesotho. His coronation was held in Maseru on October 31, 1997.
Letsie III is a constitutional monarch and most of his duties are ceremonial. King Letsie III married Karabo Anna Mots’oeneng on February 18, 2000. They have three children: Her Royal Highness Princess Senate, Her Royal Highness Princess Maseeiso, and His Royal Highness Prince Lerotholi.