The King of Tonga (a Pacific nation comprising of 169 tiny islands which gained independence from Britain in 1970), George Tupou V, was crowned today and a massive feast was prepared in celebration.

Tonga, the world's most obese nation, celebrated the coronation with a giant meal which included 70 suckling pigs.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have been invited to the coronation and so too have several celebrities including Mick Jagger and members of the British, Japanese and Thai royal families..

The national sport of Tonga is rugby, so there will be a coronation rugby match involving players from England, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Tonga is an Absolute Monarchy, and George Tupou V vows he will be the last Absolute Monarch and allow the country to become more democractic, by either becoming a republic or a Constitutional Monarchy.

Pictured: Fire up the barbecue ...
The feast fit for a king as the 'last' monarch of Tonga is crowned

30th July 2008
Daily Mail

Tonga, in the South Pacific, gained independence from Britain in June 1970

If this feast is anything to go by, it's no wonder Tonga is known as the fattest nation on earth.

Around 70 cooked pigs and hundreds of baskets of food were presented to Tonga's new king in a lavish coronation ceremony for Polynesia's last monarchy today.

King George Tupou V has no known heir and has promised to give up absolute power in keeping with his country's desire for a democracy.

Porky: Over 70 suckling pigs are spread out for today's coronation feast

He will be crowned officially on Friday, before Tongan, British, Japanese and Thai royalty, as well as South Pacific chiefs and heads of state.

A 60-year-old bachelor without any known heir, he will be Tonga's 23rd and possibly last king.

Tonga is a group of 170 coral islands sprinkled across an area of about 2,000 km (1,250 miles) north of New Zealand.

It is also the South Pacific's last monarchy, where the royal family controls a semi-feudal political system, and where all cabinet posts are decided by the king.

Today his people staged the Taumafa Kava ceremony.

"The Taumafa Kava is the traditional coronation ceremony for the Tongan people," Alfred Soakai, from the prime minister's office, said.

The last king?: King George Tupou V, right, is led from one of the ceremonies today

Wearing a traditional Tongan ta'ovala woven mat skirt and a garland of flowers, the new king arrived at the Taumafa Kava in the capital Nuku'alofa behind a spear-wielding warrior from Fiji. No Tongan can walk in front of the king or touch his food.

The new king sat on a pile of handwoven pandanus mats on an open pavilion facing the sea, while more than 200 Tongan nobles and chiefs dressed in woven skirts and sea shells circled him.

With hundreds of palm-leaf baskets of food and rows of cooked pigs trussed on wooden sticks laid out before him, the king took the first drink of kava, a mildly narcotic drink made from crushed kava root, signifying he was the first Tongan.

The Master of the Royal Household, Honourable Tu'ivanuavou, told the South Pacific news service PACNEWS that the ceremony "was an act of homage and a confirmation of allegiance".

"It marked the sealing by the nobles, the chiefs and the people of the sacred authority from his majesty derived from his ancestry," he said.

Pounded: Men perform a kava-making ceremony as part of coronation

Schoolchildren were to hold 30,000 torches tonight to proclaim King George Tupou V's coronation to the world.

Violent protests erupted in Tonga in 2006, in which eight people were killed and much of the island nation's businesses destroyed, as people demanded political reforms.

In April 2008, Tongans voted pro-democracy lawmakers into parliament, with some of those elected still facing sedition charges for the 2006 riots.

Tonga's new king has said he will relinquish his political powers once on the throne "to meet the democratic aspirations of many of his people".

Tonga will spend £1.35million on the coronation, which includes traditional ceremonies and a church service on Friday reflecting Tonga's Christian nature, but also three royal balls, a military parade, an open-air concert and fireworks displays.

The royal robes come from a Saville Row tailor in London.

People's rights: A ceremonial procession of the people at the coronation. The King has promised to give up absolute power in line with the people's aspirations

The Tongan government said guests invited for the final coronation include the Britain's Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan and Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand.

There will also be many South Pacific royals, including the Maori King from New Zealand, an Hawaiian princess, Samoan and Fijian royalty, and nobility from many island nations.

Tonga, like many small South Pacific nations, is rugby-mad, so there will also be a coronation rugby match involving players from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and England.


George Tupou V's grandmother Queen Salote Tupou III - who ruled Tonga from 1918 until her death in 1965 - won the hearts of the British people when she rode in an open carriage at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Waving and smiling despite the pouring rain, she refused to close the top of her carriage as a mark of respect for the young Queen.

Queen Salote, who was six foot three and weighed more than 25 stone, was accompanied by a tiny man dressed in a frock coat and spats.

When a friend of writer Noel Coward asked: "Who's that little man in the carriage with her?" Coward is said to have replied: "Her lunch".


100,000 - Population of Tonga. They speak Tongan and English and the main industries are agriculture and fishing

£2,049 - Average salary per year. The local currency is called the Pa'anga

98% - Literacy rate

23c - The average annual temperature

36% - Unemployment rate

£1.30 - Price of a bottle of beer

Rugby is the national sport. They have their own version of haka

The Tonga national rugby team performs the Haka, a war dance performed by all the players before the start of a match. Other Pacific nations such as Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand also have their versions of the Haka before a rugby game

67.9 years - Average male life expectancy. For women it is 72.1 years

National dish: Topai - doughy dumplings served with a syrup of sugar and coconut milk.

£3,400 - Average price of a secondhand family car

Top TV: Planet Tonga, TV news and entertainment

Last edited by Blackleaf; Jul 30th, 2008 at 11:53 AM..