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International royals

A look at the Tongan line of succession

With King Tupou VI celebrating ten years on the Tongan throne, let’s take a look at the succession of this Polynesian country.

The Kingdom of Tonga follows the male-preference cognatic primogeniture, meaning that only legitimate descendants of Tonga’s first king, George Tupou I, can ascend to the throne and that male successors are given preference over female successors.

Queen Sālote Tupou III, who reigned from 1918 to 1965, has been Tonga’s only queen regnant.

King Tupou VI’s heir is Crown Prince Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala, his eldest son. He has been heir apparent to his father since his accession in 2012 and married Sinaitakala in an arranged marriage that July.

His wedding was controversial and was not met with universal approval, as he and Sinaitakala are double second cousins, with the Crown Princess in the line of succession to the Tongan throne in her own right.

The next four spaces in the line of succession are the children of Crown Prince Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala and Crown Princess Sinaitakala: one son and three daughters.

The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Tonga. By ImperialArchivesRU – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Prince Taufaʻahau Manumataongo, the eldest child and only son of the Crown Prince Couple, was born on 10 May 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. Next, Princess Halaevalu Mataʻaho was born on 12 July 2014; Princess Nanasipauʻu Eliana was born on 20 March 2018, and Princess Salote Mafile’o Pilolevu was born on 25 February 2021.

Next in line to the Tongan throne is Prince Ata, the younger son of King Tupou VI, who was born in 1988. He is followed, in seventh place, by his older sister Princess Angelika Lātūfuipeka Tukuʻaho, who was born in 1983.

ʻUlukālala, Tupoutoʻa-Lavaka, and Ata. By Tauʻolunga – Taina Kami, CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikimedia Commons

In eighth place is King Tupou VI’s older sister, Princess Royal Salote Mafile’o Pilolevu, The Honourable Lady Tuita, who has acted as regent on behalf of their father until he abolished the need for a regent in 2011.

The Princess Royal’s children occupy the ninth through 17th spaces in the line of succession. In ninth place is her eldest daughter, The Honourable Sālote Lupepau’u Salamasina Purea Vahine Arii ‘Oe Hau Tuita, and in 10th place is her granddaughter Phaedra Anaseini Tupouveihola Ikaleti Olo-‘i-Fangatapu Fusituʻa, who was born in 2003.

The Princess Royal. By LeliseliTongaFollow – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Honourable Titilupe Fanetupouvava’u Tuita Tu’ivakano is 11th in line to the throne, followed by her three children: The Honourable Simon Tu’iha’atu’unga George Ma’ulupekotofa Tu’ivakano, born in 2011; The Honourable Michaela Tu’ivakano, born in 2012; and The Honourable Fatafehi Tu’ivakano, born in 2013.

In 15th place in the line of succession is The Honourable Frederica Lupe’uluiva Fatafehi ‘o Lapaha Tuita Filip, followed by her daughter, Latu’alaifotu’aika Fahina e Paepae Tian Tian Filipe, who was born in 2014.

In the final place in the recognised line of succession is the Princess Royal’s youngest daughter, The Honourable Lupeolo Halaevalu Moheofo Virginia Rose.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.