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King of Tonga celebrates 65th birthday and 14 years since ascending to the throne.



King of Tonga celebrates 65th birthday

The Kingdom’s biggest national event and festivities are underway to commemorate the King’s special day.

Tongans celebrated His Majesty King Tupou VI’s birthday on Thursday in a thanksgiving service with hundreds in attendance including diplomats and several members of the royal family.

The service was held at the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga’s Centenary Chapel in the capital, Nuku’alofa, followed by a banquet at the Queen Salote Memorial Hall.

The kingdom is also holding its annual Heilala Festival to celebrate the King’s birthday, Tonga’s biggest national event.

The festival, which ends this weekend, includes a float parade, a classical music charity concert, and most notably, the Heilala Beauty Pageant.

Pathway to the throne

The King and Queen of Tonga at the coronation in 2015.

King Tupou VI inherited the throne in 2012 following the death of his older brother, the late King George Tupou V who had no legitimate children.

As the youngest child of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, he was educated in Cambridge, England, at the The Leys School and holds two master's degrees in defence studies and international relations.

Following his career in Tonga’s navy, His Majesty held the position of Prime Minister from 2000 until his unexpected resignation in 2006.

Tupou VI played a crucial role in Tonga’s diplomatic affairs when he took on the role of the island nation's first high commissioner to Australia until his succession to the throne in 2012.