Sālote Tupou III

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Sālote Tupou III
Queen of Tonga
Queen Salote in London.jpg
Queen Salote in London at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
Reign 5 April 1918 – 16 December 1965
Coronation 11 October 1918, Nukuʻalofa
Predecessor Siaosi Tupou II
Successor Tāufa‘āhau Tupou IV
Spouse Viliami Tungī Mailefihi
Issue Siaosi Tāuf‘āhau Tupoulahi
Uiliami Tuku‘aho
Sione Ngū Manumataongo
Full name
Sālote Mafile‘o Pilolevu
House Tupou
Father Siaosi Tupou II
Mother Lavinia Veiongo
Born (1900-03-13)13 March 1900
Died 16 December 1965(1965-12-16) (aged 65)
Auckland, New Zealand
Burial Mala‘e Kula
Religion Methodism

Sālote Mafile‘o Pilolevu Tupou III, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DStJ (13 March 1900 – 16 December 1965), but usually named only Sālote, was queen regnant of Tonga from 5 April 1918 to her death in 1965.

Personal history[edit]

She was the daughter of King George Tupou II and his first wife, Queen Lavinia Veiongo Fotu. Her name Sālote is a Tongan version of the name Charlotte.[1]:19 Married to Viliami Tungī Mailefihi, she became the mother of Siaosi Tāufa‘āhau Tupoulahi – later King Tāufa‘āhau Tupou IV –, Uiliami Tuku‘aho (5 November 1919 – 28 April 1936), and Sione Ngū Manumataongo – later Tu‘i Pelehake (Fatafehi) –, plus three miscarriages. She died 16 December 1965 at Aotea Hospital, Auckland, after a long illness. Queen Salote was well known for her height at 6 ft 3 in (1.91 metres) tall.[2]


From a traditional point of view she was also (the 21st) Tu‘i Kanokupolu and as such only grudgingly accepted by followers of the Tu‘i Tonga, that is the people of Mu‘a. The first years of her reign she spent a lot of effort in reducing their suspicions. Her marriage to Tungī Mailefihi had been a masterstroke of her father, as Tungī was a direct descendant of the Tu‘i Ha‘atakalaua, which at that time was seen as belonging to the Tu‘i Tonga's kauhala‘uta. Their children therefore combined the blood of the three grand royal dynasties in Tonga.

In 1920–1921, she assisted the Bernice P. Bishop Museum's Bayard Dominick Expedition with their mapping of Tongan archaeological sites by providing access to localities and information. The expedition's reports on the Tongan past—including a large volume of material which still remains unpublished even today—were primarily compiled by Edward Winslow Gifford and provided the groundwork for comprehensive studies of the pre-contact history of the Tongans (Burley 1998). She was also a keen writer and author of countless dance songs and love poems (hiva kakala) as well as majestic lakalaka.

She brought Tonga to international attention when, during her one and only visit to Europe, she attended the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London. During the coronation procession it began to rain and hoods were placed on the Queen's carriage, and on other carriages in the procession. As Tongan custom dictates that one should not imitate the actions of person they are honoring, she refused a hood and rode through the pouring rain in an open carriage, endearing herself to spectators and bringing Tonga to international attention.[3] She served as Chairman of the Tonga Traditions Committee 1954–1965 and patronised the Tonga Red Cross Society.


National Honours[edit]

She was Grand Master of the Royal Orders of Tonga :

Tongan 1 paʻanga coin depicting Salote Tupou III.
Sālote as a child

Foreign Honours[edit]

She was appointed:


  1. ^ Wood-Ellem, Elizabeth (1999). Queen Sālote of Tonga: the story of an era, 1900–1965. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland University Press. ISBN 978-1-86940-205-1. OCLC 262293605. 
  2. ^ "GREAT BRITAIN: Reunion in Paradise". TIME. 28 December 1953. Retrieved 12 January 2010. 
  3. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1992/06/07/magazine/in-the-court-of-the-king-of-tonga.html


  • Bain, Kenneth Ross., (1967), The Friendly Islanders: a story of Queen Salote and her people, London; Hodder & Stoughton.
  • Burley, David V. (1998): Tongan Archaeology and the Tongan Past, 2850-150 B.P. Journal of World Prehistory 12(3): 337–392. doi:10.1023/A:1022322303769 (HTML abstract)
  • Kaeppler, A.L.; Taumoefolau, M.; Tuku‘aho, N, & Wood-Ellem, E. (2004): Songs and poems of Queen Salote. ISBN 978-982-213-008-9
  • Luke, Sir Harry (1954), Queen Salote & Her Kingdom, London:Putnam.
  • Wood-Ellem, Elizabeth (1999), Queen Salote of Tonga: The Story of an Era 1900–1965, Auckland:Auckland University Press, ISBN 978-1-86940-205-1

External links[edit]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
George Tupou II
Queen of Tonga
Succeeded by
Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV