The Royal Tongan Palace of the Tongan Monarchy is located in the heart of the capital of the Kingdom of Tonga, Nuku’alofa.
The royal wooden kauri building was constructed in 1864 as the First King of Tonga’s, Tupou I modernization of Tonga. The royal residence remains the main residence for the royal family and the surrounding compound are inclusive to the sacred royal compound. From Mapu’a fuiva located in the east of the palace wing to Talakaipau on the west wing are the surrounding compounds used today and treated as sacred part of the royal compound.
The Ha’atufunga resided at Mapu ‘a Fuiva compound during the ceremonial presentations and tribute throughout the initial 3 months mourning or first one hundred nighth.
On the west wing of the royal compound, Talakaipau, the Ha’a Latu Hifo and Faleha’akili reside, maintain and pay services for the incoming/outgoing presentations.
The statute of the late King of Tonga Tupou IV standing alone on the Fangatapu lawn and the bronze statute is of the late King Tupou IV in full general regalia. The statute has been removed to the royal malae kula tombs in September 2006.
The Fangatapu lawn is sacred land and only on special occasions will the public be permitted to congregate at the front of the palace residence. On the late Tupou IV 88th birthday celebration held on 4 July 2006 the sacred lawn was permitted for the last time for the public to congregate and celebrate the national event for the last time in Tupou IV’s reign.
The southern end of the palace residence is the pangai of the King of Tonga. The pangai is the ceremonial location for the people of Tonga to convene at. For three to four hours the ceremonies will convene with Motu’apuaka and Lauaki governing. Ceremonial occasions such as the bestowing of a noble title, matapule name, ministerial appointments, and presentations of many kinds are performed at the open air sacred ground. On many occasions during the traditional presentations, it rains, the performance of the presentations continues and the attendants must remain seated despite uncomfortable experience.
The main royal chambers at the Royal Palace dedicated for the monarchy of Tonga awaiting many royalties, heads of state, ambassadors, and visitors to the Kingdom of Tonga
The west wing of the royal palace where Privy Council convened however in the 1990’s Privy Council was relocated to the main Prime Ministers Office, Cabinet Room.
The ancient royal wooden banister leading to the chambers above with a portrait of the Late Queen Salote Tupou III hanging on the wall
This palace photo was taken approximately 1980’s when the Privy Council chambers was operational. The wind swept royal ensign indicates prevailing westerly and the sun in the northern region of Tongatapu, indicating colder seasons thus, the picture was possibly taken in the middle of the year.
A lone pine tree is seen on the bottom left hand side of the photo illustrating that the palace residence was planted with Norfolk pine trees in the mid and late 1880’s. The road from the royal palace to the royal tombs is known as the hala paini, the pinetrees road, although the official road name is the King’s road, Tu’i Road.
The red dome tower is often used in many songs and lakalaka epitomizing the sacredness of the monarchy.
“Teu faka tapu ki he lupe he taua, pea moe laione ‘i malaekula” is translated “greetings to the dove flown in the tower, and the lion of the royal tombs of malae kula”. The dove of peace in the royal ensign is the pigeon on the tower, and the lion of the royal tombs is symbolic of the Tupou I, founder of modern Tonga.