I am half Tongan and Half Sinti Gypsy! I figured I would share something that years ago my cousin the “Princess” of the Kingdom of Tonga shared! It is very interesting seeing how we speak of nobility and culture compaired to the rest of the world!
Nobility titles By Princess Tukuia A Purea Vaea 2015
In Tonga – we have two kinds of Noble titles
1. Hereditary Noble titles –33 Traditional Noble titles (estate holders)
They pass on from father to son when a title holder dies without an heir title reverts back to the Throne (King) who then decides what to do with it.
2. Life Peerages – Honorary Nobles
A life peerage grants all of the privileges of a hereditary peerage but it is not hereditary meaning that it does not get pass on father to son. It is only during lifetime. The king has the freedom of choice to appoint anyone even a foreigner who is of Tongan national. We will address them as LORD AND LADY or Your Lordship/ My Lady
Elevation of Noble titles
Serene Highness (abbreviation HSH for His/Her SERENE Highness) is a style used to address or refer to close families of the Royal Family of Tonga.
Currently, there are 3 high ranking hereditary noble titles which had been elevated to a Prince title but the Serene style means in memory of or once upon a time there was a ROYAL Prince by this title which it applies for the Tungi and Tuipeleahake title. Should we address him – HSH Prince then the noble title if it’s addressing with their spouses its Their Serene Highness’ Prince and Princess then the noble title. Elevations of these noble titles were done by the Late King George V.
Kalaniuvalu-Fotofili title – is the last descendant of the Tu’i Tonga line and today, he is the only son of HRH Princess Mele Siu’ilikutapu -eldest daughter of Late Prince Fatafehi Tuipelehake and Princess Melenaite Tuipelehake. We address him : HSH Prince Kalaniuvalu Fotofili and if it’s him and his wife – Their Serene Highness’ Prince and Princess Kalaniuvalu-Fotofili. This was being elevated by Current Ruler of Tonga, King Tupou VI.
The style His/Her Serene Highness is beneath/lower ranks than the Royal titles which are His/Her Royal Highness. Therefore, Serene is NOT a royal title because they are NOT line to the Tongan throne. The King elevated these noble titles from the Lordship title to the Serene style and they fall in between Royal and Nobility. In Tonga, we only have 3 classes, therefore these titles fall on nobility class not royal. Serene title is NOT in line to the Tongan throne.