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Touching gesture from the Tongan monarch for the Queen remembered decades on

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations brought back fond memories of Tonga’s Chief Diplomat to the UK, a different monarch.

High Commissioner Titilupe Fanetupouvavava’u Tu’ivakano, Queen Elizabeth, will remember her great-grandmother Queen Salote Tupou III. She captivated Britons riding through London’s rainy streets in an open carriage during Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation parade.

As a gesture of respect, Queen Salote didn’t close her carriage’s top despite the torrential rain.

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The revellers cheered the action.

“Every Tongan knows about this experience,” Ms Tu’ivakano said to AP.

“I have even had people walk up to me in London and ask me if I’m Tongan. These ladies are women who lived there 70 years ago.

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“They remember what they did.”

Tonga, an archipelago consisting of 170 islands in South Pacific, was once a British protectorate. However, it became fully independent in 1970 when it joined the Commonwealth.

Britain partnered with New Zealand and Australia to help Tonga after a tsunami and volcanic eruption earlier in the year.

Image: Queen Salote, Tonga, laughs with Prince Philip while they are seated alongside Queen Elizabeth II. Pic: AP

Queen Salote, who was only 18 at the time she ascended to the throne in 1918, is credited for laying the foundations for independence. However, she died in 1965 before it became a reality.

According to the diplomat, there were many similarities between the queens. Both were crowned young and took their places in a male-dominated world.

Image: Titilupe Fanetupouvavava’u Tu’ivakano, Tonga’s High Commission to the UK, holds a portrait her great grandmother, Queen Salote Tupou III. Pic: AP

She claimed that her actions at the coronation helped to cement the relationship between the UK, Tonga.

She said that there were many people who saw the auspicious event and the sign of traditional Tongan respect, which was passed down through generations.

“I believe this has in a sense reflected the relationship between Tonga and the United Kingdom, as well as among the people of the United Kingdom who were there, and the people from Tonga.”


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