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British Royal Party Platform

Nhlagano, Eswatini

This dais was said to be a remote toilet built for the convenience of the British Royal Party on their brief, and only, visit to this small African nation in 1947. But is the story true? 

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It has been reported that this small structure was a bathroom was specially built for the convenience of the British Royal Party on the only, very brief, royal visit to Swaziland (since renamed Eswatini) on March 25, 1947. The Royal party had traveled by train to the town of Piet Retief in South Africa, the nearest railhead, and thence by road to the nearest Swazi town, then named Goedgegun, where they were met by the Swazi king, Sobhuza II, and his consort, the Ndlovukati (the “She-elephant,” a Siswati title for a female monarch). To accommodate the crowds, the meeting took place on the sixth hole of the local golf course. It had reportedly been realized that there were no facilities on the site and a small single-seat toilet was apparently quickly built by the Public Works Department.

However, this is not a photograph of a royal loo—it is a photo of the dais that was used by the royal party for a review of the local troops and the subsequent presentation of medals. Photos of the event can be seen here.

King Sobhuza II accompanied King George VI, the Queen, and Princess Elizabeth to inspect the Swazi warriors. The entire Royal visit, the only ever visit by a British monarch to Swaziland, lasted just an hour and a half and the members of the Royal party were whisked back to South Africa and their next engagement.

King Sobhuza II accompanied King George VI, the Queen, and Princess Elizabeth to inspect the Swazi warriors. The entire Royal visit, the only ever visit by a British monarch to Swaziland, lasted just an hour and a half, and the members of the Royal party were whisked back to South Africa and their next engagement. The old dais still stands, now somewhat neglected, on the outskirts of the town, which has since been renamed Nhlangano (meaning ‘the meeting place of kings’ in siSwati, the local language).

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