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Queen Salote and her kingdom by Sir Harry…

Queen Salote and her kingdom (edition 1954)

by Sir Harry Luke

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Title:Queen Salote and her kingdom
Authors:Sir Harry Luke
Info:London, Putnam, 1954.
Collections:Working Library

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Queen Salote and her kingdom by Harry Luke



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Although published back in 1954 this is a very appealing book, beautifully written. It covered everything from the oldest recorded history to what seemed to be a very complicated matriarchal hierarchy, and even included details of spelling, pronunciation and the national anthem. The author, Sir Harry Luke, was Governor of Fiji and High Commissioner for the Western Pacific, and paid six visits to Queen Salote's island during his term of office. He believed Tonga to be one of the most contented countries on earth, a quality he ascribed to Queen Salote.

Queen Salote (1900-1965) was monarch from 1918-1965. Her name, the Tongan version of Charlotte, was given in honour of Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, by the same reasoning her father and grandfather were named George, or given the soft, looser Tongan pronunciation, Jioaji. Salote was a giant, both literally and figuratively. She was over 6 feet 3 inches in her bare feet making her the tallest monarch of the smallest monarchy. Imagine how imposing she was in high heels and a crown! She led her country by example and was loved by all who knew her, even in other countries. She made such an impression on the British people when she attended the Coronation in 1953 that she was included in the year-end newspaper articles that list highlights of the year.

When Captain Cook visited in 1773, he presented the island nation with a pair of tortoises from the Galapagos Islands. The female died back in the 18th century but unbelievably the male was still alive at the time of writing. Luke surmised that at around three centuries old he could be the world's oldest inhabitant. Queen Salote was able to introduce the tortoise to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip when they visited Tonga after the coronation.

In very friendly terms, Luke provided a meaningful account of Tonga and what Queen Salote accomplished. Well done! ( )
3 vote VivienneR | Jul 15, 2013 |
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