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A Princess Diary: Love Tabu

Entertainment 09 Apr 2012   »   by TheWhatItDo
Hon. Frederica Tuita

There is one thing every man and woman in the world has in common regardless of rank, ethnicity or background – the complicated issue of having a relationship. Historically in Tonga, relationships of nobility were aligned strategically. Courtship was merely for the sake of continuing a chiefly lineage or for the strengthening one’s kainga (extended family, villagers or clan). In Tonga, this concept has been passed from generation to generation. The notion of nobles and royals marrying for love is fairly new; a more common occurrence known only to the general public.

The concept of having a casual relationship for a member of the Tongan Royal family is frowned upon. Having a steady boyfriend or girlfriend is unheard of. For example, If I or one of my sisters were to date someone of acceptable rank, there would still be a formal courtship with our ever present female attendants. Privacy with a boyfriend is a privilege only for married couples. A public courtship protects a noble woman’s reputation. A bad reputation is not only undesirable, but it would affect our duties as a member of the Tongan Royal Family. The people will not respect a woman of scandal.

My sisters and I have always been told to put our education first especially before any dating or attempting to have a boyfriend (not that I ever had one). I used to think this was incredibly unfair as I’d see my foreign friends and tongan friends overseas go out with their boyfriends and socialize freely at the shopping centre or have lunch at St. Lukes Food court. I would also think that the belief of only dating or marrying someone of acceptable rank was extremely arrogant and only perpetuated the motive behind social climbers. The latter is still very much in existence. As I became older, I realized the significance of putting our education before having a relationship was our parents way of saying to put the needs of our people before our personal wants. Completing an education would assist us in our abilities to serve our people. The people are our top priority. It makes me recall the late Queen Salote’s regret of never being able to further her education, which is why, she was determined to give her sons the best education available.

Tongan people believe that the ability to lead is inherited and if one wants a good and fair leader, then one needs two appropriate leaders to unite and produce leaders.

When it comes to selecting a partner, we are expected to only “date” men that we would end up marrying. Having more than one boyfriend isn’t well received by our family and relatives. It is also more important for our older sisters and cousins, who are the only daughter, to marry a man of acceptable rank, a noble or noble’s son. The want for pairing up people of equal rank is just as much fueled by public opinion as much as that of the family. Tongan people believe that the ability to lead is inherited and if one wants a good and fair leader, then one needs two appropriate leaders to unite and produce leaders. It is also important to consider the duties that us girls have to our people. Will a man with no known rank be able to support me, my family life, and public responsibilities?

Hon. Frederica Tuita

I count a few unions in my family as blessed from the start beginning with that of my grandparents, the late King Tupou IV and Queen Halaevalu Mata’aho. His late Majesty’s first encounter with Halaevalu Mata’aho was as close as you could get to love at first sight. She is the highest ranking woman in the Ha’a Ngata clan and the daughter of the late Noble ‘Ahome’e and Heuifanga ‘Ahome’e, but was not the first to be considered as Tupou IV’s bride. He first saw her taking Queen Salote’s afternoon tea – nobles daughters are expected to take time to do their duties to the Queen – and was immediately determined to make her his wife. Because of her personal rank and background she, with her family and kainga, were accustomed to performing duties to the Royal family and the people of Tonga. Any other lady he would have married would have been restricted in their actions due to their lower rank in status. But, they both acted, thought and loved each other and their people as royally as they are.

My character is quite different from all the girls in my family. Most of us [girls in the family] are very strong minded and liberal, but I believe because of my personality, I have more freedom. I am also very much aware and prepared for the consequences of my actions, but I know that my duties are to my people and family first. I am blessed to meet potential partners not of any noble rank who share the same priorities as myself. I have a different view from the traditional. I don’t believe that my abilities to live my life will be restricted by marrying a man that isn’t from the expected group of bachelors. The ancient idea of marrying to raise one’s status or replenish one’s blueblood has reached its peak and end. In my mind, the only way one can become more ‘Eiki (royal) is through their services to family and country. I am blessed with strong female role models such as my Grandmother, mother and eldest sister to be confident with my status, see myself as one of my people, and not fear nurturing a potential relationship with someone who lacks rank. I know who I am and what my duty is. “He” will not change that.

Written By: Hon. Frederica Tuita


  • BigB197

    Great article! Thank you Hon. Frederica Tuita for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

  • I Love your article it is really intriguing to read of your thoughts. Hope all works out for you Much Luv & Respect from Cali;-)

  • It is so nice that u share with us your thoughts.Its really refreshing.Stay true to yourself.Love and respect.Ofa lahi atu.Moala.

  • Really amazing sharing and thank you so much for sharing it with us and to understand your point of view and not only that you lead us to a ground that we have no idea what its feel like to stand on it.God bless your heart always.

    S Neka Aipolo.

  • What a fresh and insightful message you have shared with us all Hon. Frederica.  We count ourselves honoured to have shared your wonderful memoirs.  We wish you all the very best in your endeavours, and all the very best for the future.  Whomever you choose as a life partner, I am sure you will make a wise choice for yourself and the rest of your family.  Tu’a ‘ofa ‘eiki atu ki ho to’ukupu kelekele xoxo

  • Love everything about this article 🙂 Great job Princess, you wrote it like a true elegant woman!

  • What an inspiring and enlightening view of the Royal Family! The Princess is wise beyond her years and the Kingdom is blessed to have her insight and grace. 
    Mahalo for sharing your thoughts and experience, Princess.

  • your way n your style brings a lot of love to the Tongan people in the 20th century, your words is so true n wishing u all the best of your journey in life xxxx Cheers

  • awesome article! 

  • beautiful article and it is so true we can all learn from it

  • Bravo! I applaud you and admire your strength in character to share your thoughts and feelings. I sincerely hope and wish only the best to happen to you. You deserve nothing less.

  • sela malafu

    Aloha Fredy, I’m sure you don’t remember me from Side School but, this is such a great way to define yourself as an individual. These documentaries are very inspirational to most Tongan women today. I know growing up was very difficult to understand at first but, with the knowledge and the help of technology, we as Tongan women can speak out and understand how and why our people has kept our traditions solid. I know if most Tongan women take the time to read or watch these documents, I’m pretty sure we can all relate. I hope the good lord continues to bless you and your household.

    Mahalo
    Sela Malafu

  • Hon. Blake G Wong-Ling

    Its interesting to read your perspective and it always make you think about being a Tongan, how we can carry our Traditions into the 21st Century, yet in some ways let go of the things that we feel are purely tradition with no outcome for good. It will be great to see more upcoming children of Royals and Nobles with the better attitude of helping to move the Kingdom forward. I believe that we earn the right to be Royal and Noble, not because of our bloodline, but because of our acts of service to build our fellow man and therefore ones self.

    ‘Ofa Lahi atu from the Tongans in New Zealand

About the author

  • I Love your article it is really intriguing to read of your thoughts. Hope all works out for you Much Luv & Respect from Cali;-)

  • It is so nice that u share with us your thoughts.Its really refreshing.Stay true to yourself.Love and respect.Ofa lahi atu.Moala.

  • Really amazing sharing and thank you so much for sharing it with us and to understand your point of view and not only that you lead us to a ground that we have no idea what its feel like to stand on it.God bless your heart always.

    S Neka Aipolo.

  • What a fresh and insightful message you have shared with us all Hon. Frederica.  We count ourselves honoured to have shared your wonderful memoirs.  We wish you all the very best in your endeavours, and all the very best for the future.  Whomever you choose as a life partner, I am sure you will make a wise choice for yourself and the rest of your family.  Tu’a ‘ofa ‘eiki atu ki ho to’ukupu kelekele xoxo

  • Love everything about this article 🙂 Great job Princess, you wrote it like a true elegant woman!

  • What an inspiring and enlightening view of the Royal Family! The Princess is wise beyond her years and the Kingdom is blessed to have her insight and grace. 
    Mahalo for sharing your thoughts and experience, Princess.

  • your way n your style brings a lot of love to the Tongan people in the 20th century, your words is so true n wishing u all the best of your journey in life xxxx Cheers

  • awesome article! 

  • beautiful article and it is so true we can all learn from it

  • Bravo! I applaud you and admire your strength in character to share your thoughts and feelings. I sincerely hope and wish only the best to happen to you. You deserve nothing less.

  • sela malafu

    Aloha Fredy, I’m sure you don’t remember me from Side School but, this is such a great way to define yourself as an individual. These documentaries are very inspirational to most Tongan women today. I know growing up was very difficult to understand at first but, with the knowledge and the help of technology, we as Tongan women can speak out and understand how and why our people has kept our traditions solid. I know if most Tongan women take the time to read or watch these documents, I’m pretty sure we can all relate. I hope the good lord continues to bless you and your household.

    Mahalo
    Sela Malafu

  • Hon. Blake G Wong-Ling

    Its interesting to read your perspective and it always make you think about being a Tongan, how we can carry our Traditions into the 21st Century, yet in some ways let go of the things that we feel are purely tradition with no outcome for good. It will be great to see more upcoming children of Royals and Nobles with the better attitude of helping to move the Kingdom forward. I believe that we earn the right to be Royal and Noble, not because of our bloodline, but because of our acts of service to build our fellow man and therefore ones self.

    ‘Ofa Lahi atu from the Tongans in New Zealand

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