Tonga’s king anointed for coronation

Tonga’s King George Tupou V was anointed with oil as part of the Christian ceremony celebrating his coronation yesterday (31.07.08).

The new monarch was watched by over 1,000 guests as he was made king, and was called upon to rule “wisely, justly and truly”.

Wearing silk breeches, a maroon cape trimmed with white fur, a medal-decked jacket and a three-metre-long train, a gold crown was place upon George’s head during the ceremony.

As the new king left the church, thousands of fans and supporters lined the streets and cheered as he walked past.

George’s coronation was also marked by a 21-cannon salute and the tolling of church bells.

Meanwhile, Tonga’s Prime Minister Fred Sevele has defended the £1.6 million cost of the lavish celebrations to mark the coronation – saying they were part of the custom in the country.

He said: “I, on behalf of the government, on behalf of the great majority of Tongans, make no apologies.”