TONGAN KING CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY IN RAIN

News Release

This morning, Nuku'alofa woke up to a cloudy rainy day and a new public holiday commemorating His Majesty’s birthday. Today marks His Majesty’s fifty-ninth birthday.

To honor this special occasion, Brigadier ‘Uta’atu, army officers,Tonga Defence Services and Tonga Police Force divisions, the Police Band and the Royal Corps of Musician were ready at Pangai Lahi to honor His Majesty King George Tupou V’s birthday with a military parade.

By 9:30 a.m. guests had started arriving at Pangai Lahi to await the arrival of His Majesty at 10 a.m. Hundreds of children and their parents also gathered at the Palace Office vehicle shelter and by the roadside at Pangai Lahi -- some sheltered by umbrellas and others enjoying a cool rain shower -- to witness and enjoy this colorful event.

His Majesty King George Tupou V arrived on a roofless military jeep, dressed in full military uniform and protected from the rain with just a raincoat draped over his shoulders and his military hat.

After the royal salute, His Majesty conducted an inspection of the Tonga Defence Services and Tonga Police Force Divisions before the actual military parade, which lasted about twenty minutes.

Guests at the military parade included members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ministers of the Crown, Nobles of the Realm, the Prime Minister and the Head of State of Samoa His Highness Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi & Her Highness Masiofo Filifilia.

After the military parade, guests attended a reception at the "’ Api Konisela," the former residence of the British High Commissioner.

His Majesty King George Tupou V was born on May 4th 1948 and this year his actual birthday ceased to be a public holiday but August 1st has now been established as a public holiday to commemorate His Majesty's birthday.

The official program to honor his birthday included a thanksgiving prayer by the Royal Chaplain Reverend Dr. ‘Ahio at the Free Wesleyan Centenary Church, Nuku’alofa on Sunday; a reception at the Janfull Dateline Hotel hosted by the Prime Minister Honorable Dr. Feleti Vaka'uta Sevele last night; today's military parade and reception and a dinner to be hosted by the Master of Royal Households at "The Villa" tomorrow.

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