12 September 2006

The king is dead - long live the king!

His Majesty Tāufa`āhau Tupou IV, King of Tonga since 1965, died Sunday at the age of 88. Amongst other things, Tupou IV was noted for being the heaviest monarch in the world, weighing in at over 200 kg (440 lbs) in the '70s, though he lost a third of his weight participating in a national fitness programme in the '90s. His Majesty was also a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George, a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, and a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, as well as a lay preacher in the Free Wesleyan Church.

His eldest son, Siaosi Tāufa`āhau Manumataongo Tuku`aho Tupou, was sworn in as king on Monday, taking the name George Tupou V. At 58, the new king is unmarried and has no children; his presumed heir is his younger brother, Prince `Aho`eitu `Unuaki`otonga Tuku`aho (commonly referred to by custom as Lavaka Ata `Ulukalala). The coronation will probably not be held until next year.

No comments: