Hundreds of Swazi women have marched through the streets of the capital to protest about a shopping trip taken by nine of the king's 13 wives.
They chartered a plane last week to go to Europe and the Middle East.
The BBC's Thulani Mthethwa says the protesters handed in a petition to the finance ministry saying the money could have been better spent.
"We can't afford a shopping trip when a quarter of the nation lives on food aid," they chanted.
Swaziland, Africa's last absolute monarchy, is one of the poorest countries in the world and more than 40% of the population is believed to be infected with HIV.
In the words of our own Declaration of Independence, even government by an absolute monarch requires consent of the governed; but it must have taken considerable courage for these women to withhold their consent in such a public way. The march was apparently organized by the non-governmental organization Positive Living, which addresses the needs of women with AIDS; so it is probably proper to present the award to this organization on behalf of the women who rose to the call to protest.