Formerly a British protectorate, Lesotho became independent in 1966. Although Lesotho is completely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa, it is a separate country.
The early years of Lesotho's independence were marked by political turmoil, and in 1990 King Moshoeshoe II went into exile. For a time his son Letsie III was Lesotho's figurehead monarch, but King Moshoeshoe resumed his reign in 1995.
After King Moshoeshoe's death in a car accident in 1996, King Letsie III once again took the throne. Under the terms of the 1993 constitution, the king plays a purely symbolic role in Lesotho's government.
King Letsie married Anna Karabo Mots'oeneng in 2000. She is now known as Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso. Their first child, Princess Senate Mary Mohato Seeiso, was born in 2001. The couple had a second daughter, Princess 'MaSeeiso Mohato Seeiso, in 2004, and a son, Prince Lerotholi David Mohato Bereng Seeiso, in 2007.
According to tradition, the king's eventual successor will be appointed by Lesotho's College of Chiefs.
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Historical Dictionary of Lesotho by Gordon Haliburton.
A South African Kingdom: The Pursuit of Security in Nineteenth-Century Lesotho by Elizabeth A. Eldredge. Examines how the chiefdom of Basutoland (Lesotho's former name) became a kingdom and then a British colony.
Hill of Destiny by Peter Becker. The life and times of Moshesh, founder of the Basotho.
The Basotho Monarchy: A Spent Force or a Dynamic Political Factor? by Richard F. Weisfelder. First published in 1972.
The Rough Guide to South Africa: Lesotho and Swaziland by Tony Pinchuck, Barbara McCrea, Donald Reid, Greg Mthembu-Salter.