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Tonga salutes King George

Saturday, August 02, 2008

GEORGE Tupou V emerged from the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga with the royal crown, sceptre and ring to the cheers of thousands of school children who lined the streets of Nuku'alofa to greet their newly-crowned king.

Yesterday's coronation marked the final rite of the installation of King George, who sought the blessing of the church after Wednesday's traditional kava ceremony at the palace ground.

A 21-gun salute reverberated through Nuku'alofa and church bells rang to mark the crowning after King George was annointed by Archbishop of Polynesia Jabez Bryce.

King George's entourage proceeded from the palace gates on fine tapa that covered the width and length of the road from the palace, which is about 900 metres away, to the entrance of the Free Wesleyan Church.

School children of Togatapu sat on the sidewalks with blue and white balloons shouting out "tuetue" (hail the king).

Togatapu was in celebration mode as a band procession of the US Royal Marines, Australia and New Zealand along with the Tongan navy and military marched through the streets of Nuku'alofa.

Bishop Bryce performed the anointing, investiture, crowning and enthroning in a ceremony.

"With thy head anointed with holy oil as kings, priests and prophets were anointed. As Solomon was anointed king and Nathan the prophet were anointed, so be anointed, blessed and consecrated king over the people who the Lord thy God has given thee to rule and govern," said Bishop Bryce.

"By this anointing pour down upon his head and heart, the blessing of the Holy Spirit and prosper the work of his hands.

"With the assistance of his heavenly grace, may he govern and preserve the people permitted to his charge, in wealth, peace and godliness and after a long and glorious course of ruling a central kingdom, wisely, justly and religiously you may last be made partaker of the eternal kingdom through the same Jesus Christ our lord

"Receive the ring of kingly dignity as you are this day consecrated to be our head and prince so may you continue. Be rich in faith and be blessed with good works and may you reign with him, who is the king of kings to whom be glory forever and ever.

"Receive the royal scepter, the enzyme for kingly power and justice."

King Tupou's head and hands were anointed with oil by Bishop Bryce before he was crowned and handed the scepter and ring.

"Sanctify your servant George Tupou on his head this day as a sign of majesty," said Bishop Bryce as as the crowd applauded.

Prime Minister Dr Feleti Sevele hosted invited guests and dignitaries to a roal luncheon at the palace.

Last night, a royal charity concert and fireworks display was held at the Masefield Naval Base.

Invited guests and dignitaires were treated to a coronation ball at The Villa.

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