After eight years of courtship, Britain's Prince William and his fiancée Kate Middleton will marry on Friday, April 29, in a long-awaited royal event. The future king's marriage to Middleton, a commoner, has dominated headlines since the announcement of their engagement last fall and has already been declared a national holiday in Britain. The ceremony will no doubt draw inspiration from the iconic royal wedding of William's parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana, but in case the pair is looking to crib notes from royalty a bit farther afield, here are some noteworthy nuptials from Bhutan to Monaco.
King Mswati III and Phindile Nkambule
Mswati, who received an invitation to William and Kate's wedding, is no stranger to the world of matrimony, having 14 wives of his own. The 43-year-old absolute monarch is guided by a close council of royal elders who advise and often choose the wives for their leader. Swazi tradition dictates very specific rules for the marriages of the king, including the expectation that he marry a woman from every clan in an effort to maintain relationships across Swaziland; Mswati's father, Sobhuza II, had 70 wives and 210 children. Many of the young girls whom the king has married have taken part in the traditional reed dance ceremony, called an umhlanga. During the umhlanga ceremonies, a reported 100,000 young girls dance in celebration of their chastity in front of the king, before presenting fresh-cut reeds to the Queen Mother (or "Great She-Elephant"). If the king chooses a dancer to be his bride at the ceremony, she is obliged to accept the offer.
In the past, Mswati famously enforced a ban on sex for women under age 18 in an effort to curb HIV/AIDS, but rescinded the ban just days before the marriage to his 13th wife -- 17-year-old Phindile Nkambule -- in 2005. He married his 14th wife in 2008 and now has 23 children among all his marriages.