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.
The march was organised by Positive Living, a non-governmental organisation for women with Aids.
Our correspondent says there was a cross-section of women on the march from professionals to rural representatives.
"We need to keep that money for ARVs [anti-retrovirals]," was another slogan shouted by the women.
King Mswati III, 40, has been criticised in the past for requesting public money to pay for new palaces, a personal jet and luxury cars.
News of his wives' trip broke in the local press a day after they left, our reporter says.
Earlier this week, senior princes warned the women not to march, saying it defied Swazi tradition.