November 19, 2018

Enthronement of Tongan King Tupou VI

 

By Luca Bücken and Baron Henri Estramant. 

 

4 July 2015, Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga: His Majesty King Tupou VI was officially enthroned as the only remaining indigenous and sovereign constitutional monarch in the South Pacific at the age of 55 years old.

His Majesty also assumes the title of the 24th “Tui Kanokupolu“, an ancient Tongan title which pre-dates the Westminster-style monarchy of today by centuries. 

King Tupou VI was educated at Cambridge and served as Tongan High Commissioner to Australia from 2008 to 2012, co-accredited to Brunei Darussalam and Thailand. Today’s high commissioner in Australia is his daughter, HRH Princess Angelika Lātūfuipeka Tuku’aho

Coronation of TM King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau'u - Royal House of Tonga

 

King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipauu were crowned by the retired Australian Methodist minister DArcy Wood of Gisborne (State of Victoria). The Australian minister was flown in for the ceremony as Tongans are traditionally not allowed to touch the head of their sovereign. The coronation took place in the Free Wesleyan Church at the capital Nukualofa as a predominantly Christian ceremony. The coronation presented the culmination of a week of festivities, which cost a comparably restrained $1.9 million (the coronation of his elder brother in 2008 had a budget of $5.7 million).

In a country which is embedded in tradition, King Tupou IV is expected to continue the democratic reform process of the past few years, which were set in motion by the late King Siaosi Tupou V, who passed away in 2012. Already in 2010 Tongans elected its first popularly elected parliament. The latter milestone has been followed by the election of the first non-noble prime minister in 2015, ‘Akilisi Pōhiva. 

Lady Janine Mateparae, HIH Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Lady Janine Mateparae, HIH Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Jerry Mateparae.

The list of foreign dignitaries attending the coronation included Their Imperial and Royal Highnesses Archduke Karl II of Austria, Royal Prince of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia alongside his younger brother Hungarian Ambassador-at-large, Archduke György (Georg) von Habsburg, Royal Prince of Hungary (President of the Hungarian Red Cross), Their Imperial Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan (Masako‘s first official trip abroad in more than two years since the investiture of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands), Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamanese Efi and spouse Masiofo Filifilia Imo

Furthermore, the Australian Governor-General, General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Lynne, kiwi Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and wife Lady Janine, Nauru’s President Baron Divavesi Waqa and Lady Louisa Waqa, Tuvalu’s Governor-General Sir Iakoba Italeli and Lady Koling, Solomon Islands’ Governor-General Sir Frank Kabui and spouse Lady Grace as well as Papua New Guinean Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio and Lady Esna, Fijian president Brigadier-General Ratu Epeli Nailatikau were present at the coronation ceremony.

A military parade was moreover hosted on the overcast morning of 6 JulyThe King inspected the parade before the Trooping of the Combined Bands of His Majesty’s Air Forces, US Marine Corps Band, Australian army Band, and the New Zealand Army Band in Slow and Quick Time, March Past and Advance in Review Order, concluded by the General Salute, before returning to the Royal Palace.

Archuduke Karl II and Archduke György of Austria, Princes of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia.

Archduke Karl II and Archduke György of Austria, Princes of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia.

The final Royal Luncheon in the afternoon was hosted by the Royal Government at Mala’e Pangai Lahi’s seaside area.

Coronation celebrations concluded with military tattoos held both on Tuesday, 7 July and Wednesday, 8 July at Mala’e Pangai.

In connection to the celebrations a new book called “Tonga: Fonua ‘a Kainga” (Tonga: the land of Kings, Chiefs and their Relatives) was launched by Princess Mele Siu‘ilikutapu at the Queen Sālote College Hall on 3 July 2015. 

 

For more information: 

Brief history of the Tongan monarchy: www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-Gq_JBauvw

Palace Office: www.mic.gov.to/palace-office

Tonga: the land of Kings, Chiefs and their Relatives: http://www.sendmoneypacific.org/news/tonga/article/710/princess-launches-book-on-tonga-land-of-kings-chiefs-and-relatives.html

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Pictures to Fairfax Media (www.fairfaxmedia.com.au)

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