Published 25 October 2018

Coming to Tonga I feel very much as though I am coming to visit an extended family.  

Your Majesties, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests. Mālō e lelei.

My wife and I are incredibly honoured to be your guests at this very special occasion in such a magical setting.

Coming to Tonga I feel very much as though I am coming to visit an extended family.  

My grandparents have visited a number of times and Your Majesties have been frequent visitors to see my family over the years. We have a strong bond as members of the Commonwealth; we share so much history - and common values.  

Tongan soldiers served with our allies during the First and Second World Wars and later independently to offer support in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tongan hospitality is world renowned; your islands are stunningly beautiful offering tourists rugged coastlines, humpback whales and coral reefs.

Tonga's sporting prowess is legendary; you are formidable on the rugby pitch , and you were the first Pacific island nation to win a medal at the Olympics! Is there no end to your talents?

Tongan artists such as Uili Lousi are winning international awards and your magnificent artefacts were a highlight at the recent Oceania exhibition in London, which my wife enjoyed very much when she opened it.

For a small population you have a very large presence on the world stage - a product of your talent and drive. We are both so looking forward to meeting many of you tomorrow- learning more about your culture and development as a strong and independent country.  

We are excited to visit Tonga’s dedication to The Queen's Commonwealth canopy; and are thankful for this country’s wider commitment to the environment by safeguarding the oceans and tackling climate change.  

We are also pleased that our visit comes at a time when the British Government is reopening its High Commission here, which will lead to far more opportunities for collaboration between our two countries in the future.

We are deeply grateful to you all for welcoming Meghan and me to Tongatapu and to Your Majesties for making us feel at home here.  

I would like to end by reading a special message from my grandmother The Queen

Your Majesties, it gives me great pleasure that my grandson and his wife are visiting The Kingdom of Tonga. Our two families have enjoyed a deep and warm friendship over many years, and I hope that our close relationship continues with the next generation.

To this day, I remember with fondness Queen Salote's attendance at my own Coronation, while Prince Philip and I have cherished memories from our three wonderful visits to your country in 1953, 1970 and 1977.

In the months and years ahead, I wish Your Majesties and the people of Tonga every good fortune and happiness.

Mālō ‘aupito.