Tonga’s King George V crownedAugust 1st, 2008 - 11:29 am ICT by IANS
Wellington, Aug 1 (Xinhua) Tonga’s King George V was crowned in a grand ceremony in its capital Nuku’alofa Friday. The king, 60, was crowned on a 2.5-metre-high golden throne amid a 21-cannon salute and the tolling of church bells, the Pacnews regional news agency reported.
Around 1,000 guests attended the coronation inside the Centenary Free Wesleyan Church of the South Pacific island kingdom. Hundreds more sat outside.
The ceremony was presided over by Suva-based Archbishop of Polynesia, Bishop Jabez Bryce.
King George V was attired in a scarlet coronation robe trimmed with white ermine fur, brought from London.
Throughout the small island kingdom, its national colours of red and white were draped from buildings and shops along the city bearing congratulatory messages “God Bless Your Majesty” and “Long Live the King.”
Visitors included the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Crown Prince of Japan, Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand and Maori King Tuheitia.
Friday has been declared a public holiday in Tonga to celebrate the historical coronation.
The coronation was originally scheduled for last year, but was delayed because of riots in late 2006 which left eight people dead and dozens of buildings looted and burned.
The new king has already announced plans to move Tonga to a more democratic system of government.
The last coronation was held in 1967 when the late King George Taufa’ahau Tupou IV was installed.
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