Thursday 29 March 2012

Tonga Commemorates The Diamond Jubilee.

On 6 March 2012 Tonga released one stamp and one miniature sheet to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The stamp is a $3.40c value and the miniature sheet has a face value of $6.00. The stamps feature a very dignified portrait of The Queen and pay a very pleasing tribute to the monarch.
The lower margin of the miniature sheet draws attention to The Most Illustrious Order Of Queen Salote Tupou III who attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. Those who witnessed the coronation on the first ever television broadcast of a British coronation fell in love with the Queen of Tonga as she insisted on travelling to the abbey in an open carriage with the roof pushed back despite the falling rain, so that people could see her. Traveling in the same carriage with her, and also enduring the rain, was one of the Malayan rulers, The Sultan of Perak, I think. Famously, Noel Coward was watching the coronation with a companion who asked him who was the rather diminuitive man who was sitting in the open carriage beside Queen Salote and he responded irreverently that the little man was "her lunch, dear, her lunch".
In 1977 Tonga commemorated Queen Elizabeth's silver jubilee with a set of 13 free-form self-adhesive stamps in three different designs produced by Walsall Security Printers. The five postage values depicted Queen Salote as she looked when she attended the coronation in 1953 and in the background is a picture of her in the open carriage. The five airmail values depicted a photograph of Queen Elizabeth with King Tafa'ahau Tupou IV, son and successor of Queen Salote, which was taken when Queen Elizabeth paid a state visit to Tonga. The same tremendously relaxed photograph was also used on a stamp issued on 22 May 1986 which commemorated Queen Elizabeth's sixtieth birthday along with two other values which featured King Tafa'Ahau and Queen Elizabeth in a se-tenant pair.
Tonga also commemorated the golden jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 2002 with a miniature sheet of five stamps which was part of The CASCO omnibus series for the event.
Finally, we may also note that Tonga issued a miniature sheet on 29 May 1998 to commemorate Diana, Princess Of Wales which consisted of 4 values each depicting a different portrait of the Princess and also, on 22 May 2000 another miniature sheet was issued to commemorate the 100th birthday of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and this included two stamps, one featuring The Queen Mother and the other a portrait of Queen Salote. The issue coincided with the opening day of the "Stamp Show London 2000", the last great philatelic exhibition to have been held in Britain (I do not include the damp squib that was held in 2010).

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