Sunday, 24 October 2010

Cocktail reception for the King of Tonga

Andrew Hornery
October 18, 2010
Source: smh.com.au (The Sydney Morning Herald)

PRIVATE SYDNEY

The smaller the principality, the tighter the protocol. Forget the grass skirt, it's strictly black tie at a cocktail reception for the King of Tonga, George Tupou V in The Rocks tomorrow night.

He is collecting a new portrait of himself bearing crown, jewel-encrusted mace and ermine robes, by the Sydney artist Charles Billich.

It is something of a departure for Billich, best known for erotic nudes in surrealist settings. Tonga's honorary consuls-general, Bill Waterhouse and his daughter Louise Raedler-Waterhouse, are overseeing the soiree.

The Waterhouses, old pals of Tongan royalty, are known to enjoy dressing up on royal occasions. Guests have been asked to observe protocol, and no latecomers will be admitted.

''Upon meeting His Majesty, men are asked to bow and women curtsy,'' the invitation says. ''You can offer your hand only after His Majesty has offered his and the handshake should be brief and polite (not too firm). Once you have been presented, you are faced with the question of what to say! The King is always addressed as 'Your Majesty' and you should let the royal personage lead the conversation.''

Guests are asked to remain until after the king's departure. The free champagne bar should slake the ennui.

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