Heritage

The British Royal Family in Tonga Through the Decades

Before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive in Tonga, we're revisiting the British royal family's best moments in the Oceanian country...
IMAGE GETTY IMAGES / ANWAR HUSSEIN
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are set to touch down in Nuku’alofa, Tonga today. And while their visit will surely be memorable, they're hardly the first British royals to travel to the country. The U.K. has a complicated history with the Polynesian nation. Tonga was never formally a British colony, but a 1900 treaty signed by the Tongan King gave the U.K. was control over its foreign affairs. That agreement was frequently revised until 1970, when Tonga became fully independent.

Today, Tonga remains a part of the British Commonwealth—and is therefore often visited by members of the British monarchy. From Queen Elizabeth II's first visit in 1953 to Prince Andrew's 1998 royal tour, we've rounded up the best moments of the royal family in Tonga.

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip visiting Tonga on December 29, 1953.


Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip enjoy a feast at the palace of Queen Salote in Tonga.


The Queen and the Prince with Queen Salote, examining a turtle that had been shown to the King of Tonga by Captain Cook on his official visit.


The Queen walks by war veterans after laying a wreath at a war memorial in Tonga.


King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV succeeded the throne in 1965 after the death of his mother, Queen Salote.


Here, the King greets Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip upon their arrival in Tonga in 1977.

King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and his wife Queen Halaevalu Mata'aho 'Ahome'e pose with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.


During their 1977 visit to Tonga, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip entertained the Tongan King and Queen aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia.


Queen Elizabeth enjoys a meal with King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV in 1977.


In 1998, Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Andrew visited the Oceanian nation.


Here, he receives a Sisi upon his arrival at the Tongan Ministry Of Fisheries.

Prince Andrew examines shells at the Ministry Of Fisheries.


Prince Andrew walks over a handwoven rug at Tonga High School with the school's principal.


Prince Andrew sits in on a Japanese and French language class at Tonga High School.


This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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