George Tupou V

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George Tupou V
USMC-110802-M-AI118-010 (cropped).jpg
King of Tonga
Reign11 September 2006 – 18 March 2012
Coronation 1 August 2008
Predecessor Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
Successor ‘Aho’eitu Tupou VI
Prime Ministers
Born(1948-05-04)4 May 1948
Tongatapu, Tonga
Died18 March 2012(2012-03-18) (aged 63)
Queen Mary Hospital, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong
Full name
Siaosi Tāufaʻāhau Manumataongo Tukuʻaho
House Tupou
Father Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV of Tonga
Mother Halaevalu Mataʻaho ʻAhomeʻe
Religion Free Wesleyan Church

George Tupou V (Tongan: Siaosi Tupou, full name: Siaosi Tāufaʻāhau Manumataongo Tukuʻaho Tupou; 4 May 1948 18 March 2012) was the King of Tonga [1] from the death of his father Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV in 2006 until his own death six years later.

Tongan is an Austronesian language of the Polynesian branch spoken in Tonga. It has around 180,000 speakers and is a national language of Tonga. It is a VSO (verb–subject–object) language.

Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV King of Tonga

Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV, son of Queen Sālote Tupou III and her consort Prince Viliami Tungī Mailefihi, was the king of Tonga from the death of his mother in 1965 until his own death in 2006.


Early life and education

Prince Siaosi was born on 4 May 1948, as the eldest child of Crown Prince Tupoutoʻa-Tungī of Tonga (son of Queen Sālote Tupou III and Prince Viliami) and his wife Crown Princess Halaevalu

Sālote Tupou III Queen regnant of Tonga

Sālote Tupou III was the first Queen regnant and third Monarch of the Kingdom of Tonga from 1918 to her death in 1965. She reigned for nearly 48 years, longer than any other Tongan Monarch.

Viliami Tungī Mailefihi was a Tongan high chieftain and Prince Consort of Queen Sālote Tupou III. He served as Prime Minister of Tonga from 1923 until his death in 1941.

Halaevalu Mataʻaho ʻAhomeʻe Queen consort and Queen Mother of Tonga

Halaevalu Mata'aho ʻAhomeʻe was the Queen Consort of Tonga from 1965 to 2006 and the wife of the late King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV, who died in 2006. She was the Queen mother of George Tupou V and the reigning King Tupou VI.

Tupou V attended King's School and King's College, both in Auckland. This was followed by periods at The Leys School in Cambridge, and another school in Switzerland. [2] He also studied at Oxford University and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England. [3]

Kings College, Auckland independent secondary school in Auckland, New Zealand

King's College, often informally referred to simply as King's, is an independent secondary boarding and day school in New Zealand. It educates over 1000 pupils, aged 13 to 18 years. King's was originally a single sex boys school but has admitted girls in the Sixth and Seventh forms since 1980, and in the Fifth form since 2016. King's was founded in 1896 by Graham Bruce. King's was originally situated in Remuera, Auckland on the site now occupied by King's School, Remuera, in 1922 the school moved to its present site in the South Auckland suburb of Otahuhu.

Auckland Metropolitan area in North Island, New Zealand

Auckland is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. Auckland is the largest urban area in the country, with an urban population of around 1,628,900. It is located in the Auckland Region—the area governed by Auckland Council—which includes outlying rural areas and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, resulting in a total population of 1,695,900. A diverse and multicultural city, Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. The Māori-language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki-makau-rau, meaning "Tāmaki with a hundred lovers", in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions.

The Leys School Co-educational independent school in Cambridge, UK

The Leys School is a co-educational independent school in Cambridge, England. It is a day and boarding school for about 574 pupils between the ages of eleven and eighteen, and a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Crown Prince

Tupou V was appointed Crown Prince on 4 May 1966. In that role, he was better known by one of his traditional chiefly titles, 'Tupoutoʻa.

In 1974, though unmarried, Tupou V had a daughter, 'Ilima Lei Fifita Tohi. In 1997 she married police officer Tulutulumafua i'Olotele Kalaniuvalu, and has three children. According to the Constitution of Tonga, ʻIlima is ineligible to accede to the throne as only children born of a royal marriage may succeed. [4]

Constitution of Tonga

The Constitution of Tonga is supreme law under which the Government of Tonga operates. It was enacted by King George Tupou I on 4 November 1875. It stipulates the makeup of the Tongan Government and the balance between its executive, legislature, and judiciary. The anniversary of its passage is celebrated annually as Tonga's Constitution Day.

The order of succession to the throne of Tonga is laid down in the 1875 constitution. The crown descends according to male-preference cognatic primogeniture. Only legitimate descendants through legitimate line of King George Tupou I's son and grandson, Crown Prince Tēvita ʻUnga and Prince ʻUelingatoni Ngū, are entitled to succeed. A person loses his or her right of succession and deprives his or her descendants of their right of succession if he or she marries without the monarch's permission.

As Crown Prince, Tupoutoʻa held great influence in Tongan politics, and was Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1979 to 1998. He had substantial business interests in Tonga and abroad, and was co-chairman of the Shoreline Group/Tonfön. As king, his first proclamation was that he would dispose of all his business assets as soon as reasonably possible, and in accordance with the law. Tonfön had since been sold, but the King was unable during his lifetime to rid himself of the remainder of the Shoreline Group after the 2006 Nuku'alofa riots scared potential buyers from making a deal.[ original research? ]

Tonfön is a Tongan telecommunications company, founded in 2002 by its chairman, Tupoutoʻa. It operates as a division of the Shoreline Group of Companies. The trema on the second 'o' is not pronounced, but is purely for effect.


Royal Monogram of King George V of Tonga Royal Monogram of King George V of Tonga.svg
Royal Monogram of King George V of Tonga

The King was recognised as a descendant of the sky god Tangaloa. [5] He was sworn in as King Tupou V on 11 September 2006, [6] which also made him, from a traditional viewpoint, the 23rd Tuʻi Kanokupolu (the overlords of Tongatapu).


The ceremonial aspects of Tupou V's accession took place in July and August 2008. These were initially to be held in 2007 after the six-month official mourning period for his father (as required of close relatives) and his own birthday. They were also deferred after the 2006 Tonga riots as he decided to focus instead on reconstruction of the damaged capital. [7]

During the week of celebrations, two key ceremonies took place to mark Tupou V's coronation. On 30 July 2008, a Taumafa Kava (Royal Kava Ring ceremony) was held on Malaʻe Pangai, the open space to the east of the Royal Palace. During the ceremony, Tupou V sat on a pile of handwoven pandanus mats in an open pavilion facing the sea, while more than 200 Tongan nobles and chiefs dressed in woven skirts and sea shells circled him. He wore the traditional Tongan ta'ovala (woven mat skirt) and a garland of flowers. During this ceremony, Tupou V was formally recognised as the Tuʻi Kanokupolu, and the rightful descendent of King George Tupou I, who united Tonga in the 19th century. The ceremony involved having kava , hundreds of baskets of food, and seventy cooked pigs presented to the King and the assembly of chiefs and nobles, [8]

Later that night, schoolchildren held 30,000 torches to proclaim the coronation in what is known as a tupakapakanava. [8] The traditional torch spectacle was held that time at a spot overlooking the Pacific and is an ancient honour reserved solely for the Tongan sovereign and Royal Family. [9]

A second, European-style coronation ceremony took place on 1 August 2008 in the Centennial Chapel, Nuku’alofa. [10] Anglican Archbishop of Polynesia Jabez Bryce invested George Tupou V with the Tongan regalia: the ring, sceptre and sword. In the culmination of the ceremony, Archbishop Bryce placed the Tongan Crown on the monarch's head. [10] Royalty and nobility from around the world were in attendance. [11]

Relinquishing most authority

A documentary dated June 2004 by Australian journalist Gillian Bradford identifies some of the challenges facing Tongan society, but also shows that King George was in favour of a gradual transition to more extensive democracy in Tonga. In the interview, the Crown Prince, as he then was, points out that free speech in Tonga was protected by the Constitution. [12]

Three days before his coronation on 1 August 2008, the King announced that he would relinquish most of his power and be guided by his Prime Minister's recommendations on most matters. [13] The Prime Minister would also be in charge of day-to-day affairs. [14] Tupou V would still have the powers to appoint judges and commute prison sentences. [15] The King also sold off lucrative business interests as part of the announcement. [16] In addition, the King announced that there would be parliamentary reform and elections in 2010. [17] Fielakepa, the spokesman for the royal palace, said, "The Sovereign of the only Polynesian kingdom ... is voluntarily surrendering his powers to meet the democratic aspirations of many of his people ... [The people] favour a more representative, elected Parliament. The king agrees with them." [16]

In July 2010 the government published a new electoral roll and called Tonga's 101,900 citizens to add their names to the document so that they can take part in the historic vote, which was due to be held on 25 November. He would remain head of state, but lose his executive powers, including the ability to appoint the prime minister and ministers. [18] However, it seemed certain that the Monarch would continue to appoint and administer the Judiciary of Tonga for the purposes of assuring that political independence and neutrality were retained. [19]

On 24 February 2012, he visited pope Benedict XVI in Vatican City. [20] [21]

During his reign, George Tupou V oversaw reforms within the Tongan honours system which both expanded the number of Orders in the Kingdom and created rules to make the award of these Orders more egalitarian.

Illness and death

The casket of King George Tupou V being carried to the Tombs. Casket of King George Tupou V.jpg
The casket of King George Tupou V being carried to the Tombs.

In September 2011, Tupou V had surgery to remove a kidney following the discovery of a tumour. [22]

On 15 September 2011 he received the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary from Pál Schmitt, the president of Hungary. [23] During his time as Minister of Foreign Affairs, he had been made an officer of France's Legion of Honour.

Matangi Tonga reported that George Tupou V died from leukaemia at 15:15 HKT on 18 March 2012 at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong, [24] though governing institutions in Tonga did not immediately confirm it. His brother and heir presumptive Tupouto'a Lavaka was at the hospital when he died. [3]

Domestic reactions

A statement was due following a cabinet meeting the day after his death. Radio Australia reported that Tonga's largest religious organisation, the Free Wesleyan Church, said it would hold a prayer service at the queen mother's residence in Nuku'alofa. [22] Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano later made a national address calling on the people of Tonga to pray for the royal family and the country, according to Radio New Zealand .

International reactions


Following the official announcement of the passing of King George Tupou V and giving the Proclamation of the new King, Tupou VI, His Majesty's Cabinet set up a Committee for the organization of the state funeral of the King. Lord Vaea became the Chairman of the Committee. The King's body arrived on 26 March 2012, then lay in state at the Royal Palace in Nuku'alofa for a day. [30] The funeral, originally announced for 28 March 2012, was rescheduled to 27 March 2012. [30]

Selected foreign dignitaries were invited by the Committee to attend the funeral, including the Governor General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, and the Governor-General of New Zealand, Jerry Mateparae. Royal guests at the ceremony included Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and Prince Hitachi of Japan and his wife, Princess Hitachi. [30] [31]


Styles of
King George Tupou V of Tonga
Coat of arms of Tonga.svg
Reference style His Majesty
ko ʻene ʻafio
Spoken styleYour Majesty
ko hoʻo ʻafio
Alternative styleSir




See the Tongan language page and ancestor's page ...

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George Tupou V
House of Tupou
Born: 4 May 1948 Died: 18 March 2012
Titles of nobility
Preceded by
Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
3rd Chief Tupoutoʻa [1]
Succeeded by
Tupou VI
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
King of Tonga
Succeeded by
Tupou VI
  1. Soszynski, Henry. "TUPOUTO'A".