Tupou VI

University of East Anglia


Country of Origin:

Study Destination:
United Kingdom

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Tupou VI

Tupou VI  is the King of Tonga.  He attended the University of East Anglia from 1977 to 1980 and studied Development. Previous to this, he attended The Leys School in Cambridge from 1973 to 1977.

Tupou VI started his career in the military when he joined the naval arm of the Tonga Defence Services in 1982 and working his way up to Lieutenant-Commander in 1987. In 1988 he attended the US Naval War College and from 1990 to 1995 he commanded the Pacific-class patrol boat VOEA Pangai and his time in charge included peacekeeping operations in Bougainville. He then attended the University of New South Wales in Australia and graduated in 1997 with a Master's degree in Defence Studies.  He continued his studies at Bond University in Queensland Australia earning another Master's degree in International Relations in 1999.

In 1998 Tupou VI ended his military career to become part of the government of Tonga. His first roles were as Minister of Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs at the same time, from October 1998 until August 2004. Then, in January 2000, he was appointed as Prime Minister, a function he kept until his sudden resignation on 11 February 2006, for which the reason has never become clear, but it is likely that this was due to the unrest in Tonga since mid-2005 when the country started to be plagued by a series of pro-democracy protests calling for a lesser role for the royal family in government. So in February 2006, Feleti Sevele was appointed and was Tonga's first prime minister who was not a hereditary estate holder or a member of the aristocracy made up of 33 noble families. Tupou VI continued to serve his country and was apointed Tonga's first High Commissioner to Australia, a post he held until his succession to the Tongan throne in 2012.

Tupou's full name is ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho Tupou.