Tupou VI

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Tupou VI
King Tupou in 2019
King of Tonga
Reign18 March 2012 – present
Coronation4 July 2015[1]
PredecessorGeorge Tupou V
Heir apparentTupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala
Prime Ministers
13th Prime Minister of Tonga
Term3 January 2000 – 11 February 2006
PredecessorBaron Vaea
SuccessorFeleti Sevele
MonarchTāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
Born (1959-07-12) 12 July 1959 (age 64)
Royal Palace, Nukuʻalofa, Kingdom of Tonga
(m. 1982)
IssuePrincess Lātūfuipeka Tukuʻaho
Crown Prince Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala
Prince Ata
ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho
FatherTāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
MotherHalaevalu Mataʻaho ʻAhomeʻe
Alma materUniversity of East Anglia
University of New South Wales
Bond University

Tupou VI (Tongan: ‘Aho‘eitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho; born 12 July 1959) is King of Tonga. He is the younger brother and successor of the late King George Tupou V. He was officially confirmed by his brother on 27 September 2006 as the heir presumptive to the Throne of Tonga, as his brother (a bachelor) had no legitimate children.[2] He served as Prime Minister of Tonga from 2000 to 2006 and as Tonga's High Commissioner to Australia, and resided in Canberra from 2008[3][4] until the death of King George Tupou V on 18 March 2012, when he became King of Tonga, with the regnal name Tupou VI.[5]


ʻAhoʻeitu was born in Nukuʻalofa, Tonga, the third son and youngest child of King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV.[2] He was educated at The Leys School, Cambridge, from 1973 to 1977.[6] He then attended the University of East Anglia, where he read Development Studies, from 1977 to 1980.[7] He started his career in the military, joining the naval arm of the Tonga Defence Services in 1982 and becoming a Lieutenant-Commander in 1987. He graduated from the US Naval War College as part of Class 33 in 1988. From 1990 to 1995 he commanded the Pacific-class patrol boat VOEA Pangai and his time in charge included peacekeeping operations in Bougainville. He graduated from the University of New South Wales in 1997 with a master's degree in defence studies and from Bond University in 1999 with a master's degree in international relations.[8]

In 1998 he ended his military career to become part of the government, first as simultaneous defence minister and foreign minister from October 1998 until August 2004.[9] He took over these posts from his elder brother Tupoutoʻa, at that time still the crown prince, later to become King Siaosi Tupou V. He was later appointed as Prime Minister on 3 January 2000, a function he kept until his sudden resignation on 11 February 2006.[9] The reason has never been made clear, but was likely connected to pro-democracy protests calling since mid-2005 for a lesser role of the royal family in government, later culminating in the 2006 Nukuʻalofa riots.[10] His appointed successor, Feleti Sevele, was Tonga's first prime minister who was not a hereditary estate holder or a member of the 33 noble families that make up the Tongan aristocracy.

In 2008 ʻAhoʻeitu was appointed Tonga's first High Commissioner to Australia, a post he held until his succession to the Tongan throne in 2012.[11] In addition, he was also non-resident Ambassador to Japan from 15 January 2010 to his succession in 2012.[12] In 2013 he was appointed as Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific.[13]

Prime Minister (2000–2006)[edit]

He was appointed as Prime Minister on 3 January 2000. He served as Prime Minister until his resignation on 11 February 2006. He likely resigned due to pro-democracy protests since mid-2005 calling for a lesser role of the royals in government, eventually culminating in the 2006 Nukuʻalofa riots.[10]

Diplomatic career[edit]

He became the first chief of mission for Tonga's High Commission in Canberra when it opened in 2008.[14]

Marriage and family[edit]

Tupoutoʻa-Lavaka (centre) in a mourning dress for his recently deceased father, king Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV in 2006. He is flanked by his two sons, the new chiefs ʻUlukālala (left) and Ata (right)

ʻAhoʻeitu is married to Nanasipauʻu Tukuʻaho, daughter of the Baron Vaea.[15] They have three children[15] and four grandchildren:[16][17][18][19]

Since his confirmation as heir presumptive, he got the traditional title of Tupoutoʻa, reserved for crown princes, which his older brother (the second) had to give up because he married a commoner, while two of his previous titles went to his sons. As such he was until his accession to the throne known as Tupoutoʻa Lavaka. His elder son, Siaosi, (George) is to be addressed by the prestigious title of ʻUlukālala of Fangatongo, while his second son, Viliami, (William) was bestowed with ʻAta of Hihifo.[2]


King Tupou VI after his coronation ceremony in Nukuʻalofa on 4 July 2015

King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u were crowned in a ceremony conducted at Centenary Church in Nukuʻalofa on 4 July 2015 by the Reverend D'Arcy Wood, a retired Uniting Church in Australia minister who was born in Tonga. He was assisted by the Reverend 'Ahio and the Reverend Tevita Havea, the president and the secretary general of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga.[22] The celebrations included many international invited guests, and an estimated 15,000 people, mostly expatriate Tongans, flew in to join the celebrations.[23]

During the ceremony, Tupou VI was anointed with holy oil, adorned with a ring, and presented with a sceptre. The crown was then placed on his head by Wood, who performed the anointing and crowning as a matter of circumventing the taboo on native Tongans touching the King's head. The celebrations ran for a total of eleven days, beginning a week before the ceremony.[24]


On 25 August 2017 he suddenly dismissed the Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva, dissolved the Legislative Assembly and ordered early elections to be held by mid-November. After the king’s dissolution of the government, the speaker, Lord Tu’ivankō issued a statement outlining the advice he provided to the King to encourage his decision. He claimed Pohiva had made unconstitutional moves which included signing international agreements without the consent of the King.[25] On 15 January 2022, he was evacuated from the Royal Palace after the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai eruption and tsunami.[26] He returned to the palace on 17 January.[27]


Styles of
King Tupou VI of Tonga
Reference styleHis Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty



  • Tonga : King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV Coronation Silver Jubilee Medal (4 July 1992)[citation needed]
  • Tonga : King George Tupou V Coronation Medal (31 July 2008)[citation needed]
  • Tonga : Tonga Defence Services General Service (Bougainville) Medal (4 July 1995)[citation needed]
  • Tonga : Tonga Defence Services Long Service and Good Conduct Medal[citation needed]

Family tree[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tonga Broadcasting Archived 11 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c "Tupouto'a Lavaka, Tonga's new Crown Prince". Matangi Tonga. 27 September 2006. Archived from the original on 3 November 2006.
  3. ^ "Crown Prince Tonga's first High Commissioner to Australia" Archived 17 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Matangi Tonga, 15 August 2008
  4. ^ read&id=41482 "Tonga’s Crown Prince made High Commissioner in Canberra", Radio New Zealand International, 15 August 2008
  5. ^ "Announcement of the Passing of His Late Majesty & Proclamation of the New King". Tonga Government Portal. 21 March 2012. Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  6. ^ "King of Tonga, an Old Leysian, hosts royal tour". The Leys School. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  7. ^ "One in seven countries has leader who studied in UK". BBC News. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  8. ^ "The Monarch". Consulate of the Kingdom of Tonga. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Who is Tonga's King Tupou VI?". Royal Central. 18 March 2022. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  10. ^ a b "Tonga gets first elected leader". 13 February 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  11. ^ "HRH The Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka: Tonga's First High Commissioner to Australia". Tonga Government Portal. 16 August 2008. Archived from the original on 30 November 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Tonga's Crown Prince New Ambassador to Japan". Pacific Islands Report. 26 January 2010. Archived from the original on 11 November 2021. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  13. ^ "Mic". Archived from the original on 28 May 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  14. ^ "HRH The Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka: Tonga's First High Commissioner to Australia". web.archive.org. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  15. ^ a b "Royal Family Members". Tongan Royal Palace. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  16. ^ a b "New Tongan heir, Prince Taufa'ahau Manumataongo born May 10 in Auckland". Matangi Tonga. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  17. ^ a b "Tonga's new Princess Halaevalu Mata'aho". Matangi Tonga. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  18. ^ a b "New Princess born – HRH Princess Nanasipau'u". Matangi Tonga. 20 March 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  19. ^ a b "Princess Salote Mafile'o Pilolevu – Tonga's new baby Princess". Matangi Tonga. 26 February 2021. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  20. ^ "Princess Latufuipeka appointed Tonga's High Commissioner to Australia". 26 August 2012. Archived from the original on 26 August 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  21. ^ Jonathan Pearlman (12 July 2012). "Tongan crown prince marries second cousin". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  22. ^ Fonua, Pesi; Folau, Linny (4 July 2015). "HM King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau'u crowned at Centenary Church". Matangi Tonga. Vava'u Press. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  23. ^ "Tonga crowns King Tupou VI in lavish public coronation, parties". ABC News. 4 July 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  24. ^ Fox, Liam (4 July 2015). "Tonga crowns King Tupou VI in lavish public coronation, parties". Nukuʻalofa: ABC News. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  25. ^ Wyeth, Grant. "King of Tonga Dismisses Prime Minister Pohiva's Government". thediplomat.com. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  26. ^ "Volcano triggers Tonga tsunami, alerts issued from Japan to US". uk.style.yahoo.com. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  27. ^ "Tonga's King returns to royal castle following tsunami". Royal Central. 17 January 2022. Retrieved 17 January 2022.

External links[edit]

Tupou VI
House of Tupou
Born: 12 July 1959
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Tonga
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
New office High Commissioner to Australia
Succeeded by
Ambassador of Tonga to Japan
Succeeded by
Tania Laumanulupe Tupou
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Tonga
Heir apparent:
Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala