20 March 2012

Death of King George Tupou V of Tonga (1948-2012)

The Tongan Ministry of Information & Communications issued a press release on 19 March 2012 informing that HM King George Tupou V, had died the day before at Hong Kong, 63 years old. The king, who succeeded his father, King Taufa'auah Tupou IV, on 11 September 2006,* will surely be remembered first of all for introducing democracy to the Pacific monarchy.

According to The Guardian, Tongan media reports say the king underwent a liver transplant last year and had also been diagnosed with cancer. He died at the Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, with his younger brother and heir at his bedside. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

King George Tupou V, who was unmarried, has been succeeded by his younger brother H.M. 'Aho'eitu 'Unuaki-'o-Tonga Tuku'aho Tupou VI, b. 12 July 1959. He is married to Heuifanga Nanasipau’u Tuku’aho, b. 1954, and has 3 children by her - Princess Angelika, b. 1983, Prince Siaosi, b. 1985, and Prince Viliami, b. 1988. Prince Siaosi, the new king's oldest son, is expected to receive the title of Crown Prince of Tonga during the next few weeks. For more details of the Tongan royal family's genealogy and all their titles, see The Royal Ark. The new king's reign name has yet to be announced, so for now I have used his full name, H.M. ‘Aho’eitu ‘Unuaki-’o-Tonga Tuku’aho Tupou VI. The new king has served Tonga in many positions, including the post of Prime Minister from 2000 to 2006. From 2012 he served as his brother's personal ADC.

Some obituaries and news articles concerning King George Tupou V:
  • His Majesty King George Tupou V of Tonga (Telegraph.co.uk 18 March 2012)
  • King who steered Tonga towards democracy dies aged 63 (Guardian.co.uk 18 March 2012)
  • Tonga's colourful king dead at 63 (Abc.net.au 19 March 2012)
Condolences has poured in from all over the world, and I have decided to include two examples. Buckingham Palace has released the following statement:
It is with great sadness that I learnt of the death of your brother, His Majesty King George Tupou V. King George was a true statesman who served his country with distinction.

On behalf of the people of the United Kingdom, Prince Philip and I wish to convey to your family and to the people of the Kingdom of Tonga our deepest sympathy at this sad time.

The Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway has released the text of the condolence telegram HM King Harald V has sent to the new king of Tonga:
His Majesty Tupou VI,
King of Tonga

Your Majesty,
I was deeply saddened to hear the news that His Majesty King George Tupou V of Tonga has passed away. Please receive my deepest condolences and my sympathy for Yourself, Your family and the people of Tonga.

Harald R

In connection with the death of King George Tupou V, I have earlier today updated my Longest reigns page.

* The statement by the then Prime Minister of Tonga, Dr. Feleti Sevele, issued 11 September 2006, said that HM King Taufa'auah Tupou IV died in Auckland, New Zealand at 11:34 p.m. on 10 September 2006 (New Zealand time), 12:34 a.m. on 11 September 2006 (Tongan Time), cf. Pacific Magazine 11 September 2006.


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