Tongans back controversial royal wedding
Saturday 10 Aug 2013 5:44 p.m.
Lady Frederica Tuita has the blessing of the Tongan community
A controversial royal wedding between the niece of the Tongan king and a commoner has taken place in Auckland without the king's approval.
But Lady Frederica Tuita has the blessing of the Tongan community.
The bride's family originally hoped she'd meet a man with royal blood.
“That's what we were hoping for, but unfortunately she made her choice and we respect her choice,” says one family member.
But the groom's family were making the most of their new status.
Lady Frederika refused a traditional arranged marriage, choosing to marry her love, Johnny Filipe, the son of a businessman whom she met at her sister's 21st birthday party.
Lady Frederika's uncle, King George Tupou XI, hasn't approved the wedding and has the power to annul it if he wishes. But Tongans support it.
“I just came back from Tonga last week,” say Melino Maka of the Tongan Advisory Council. “Overall there's a lot of positive feedback about this.”
And Mr Maka believes the king symbolically showed support by sending his mother and his son, the Crown Prince, to represent him.
“The only reason the king couldn't be here I think was that he was touring the outer islands of Tonga for the annual agriculture show,” says Mr Mak.
Guests said it was emotional for a royal wedding, and described it as being like a fairy tale.
“The high class and the royal family get on very well – fit in perfectly,” says one guest.
“It's like the love story of Romeo and Juliet.”
But Lady Frederika's not the only member of the royal family to snub tradition. Her older sister, Saalote Lupepau Tuita will marry another commoner, a rugby player, in a week's time.