London, UK - Marking the London Olympics 2012, the Sacred Military Constatinian Order of St George and Royal Order of Francis I hosted a Royal Gala Dinner last night (28 July 2012) at the Stationer's Hall, London with the theme "Faith-in-Sports".
This was well attended by Heads of States and Heads of Governments, Heads of
Religions, Clergies and other national and international dignitaries. The Royal
Gala Dinner was preceded by an Investiture Ceremony where a number of Heads of
States and Heads of Governments were decorated with the highest grade of the
Royal Order, in recognition of their contributions to inter-religious
Together with the President of the Republic of Panama, President of Commonwealth of Dominica, and the President of Montenegro, Crown Prince and Crown Princesses of Tonga, HRH Crown Prince Tupouto'a-‘Ulukalala and Crown Princess Sinaitakala Tuku'aho were among the international dignitaries that were decorated. Crown Prince Tupouto'a-‘Ulukalala was awarded with the Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I and Crown Princess Sinaitakala was awarded with the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I. The Award was presented by the Grand Master of the Order, HRH The Duke of Castro and blessed by Their Graces the Archbishop of Westminster and Archbishop of Cardiff. This is the first time the Investiture Ceremony is held outside Rome and this is due to the fact that most of the awardees were attending the London Olympics.
In accepting the order, HRH Crown Prince Tupouto'a-‘Ulukalala delivered a brief statement briefed the congregation on the complete freedom of religion in Tonga and he further acknowledged the important roles and contributions the Catholic community plays in the socio-economic development of our Tongan society. In recognition of Tonga's efforts in defending and protecting Christian faith and in furthering greater inter-religious understanding, the Crown Prince re-assured that Tonga remains committed to furthering greater cooperation and understanding between all faiths and to working with the Sacred Order to achieve its noble and much needed goals.
His late Majesty King George Tupou V was awarded with the same honour during his visit to Rome early this year.
Recent Recipients of the Knight or Dame Grand Cross
- HRH Princess Camilla, Duchess of Castro, Dame Grand Cross,
- HE Mr Filip Vujanović, President of Montenegro, Knight Grand Cross,
- HRH Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Dame Grand Cross,
- HRH Princess Elena of Romania, Dame Grand Cross,
- HM King George Tupou V of Tonga, Knight Grand Cross,
- HRH Crown Prince Tupouto'a 'Ulukalala of Tonga, Knight Grand Cross,
- HRH Crown Princess Sinaitakala Fakafanua of Tonga, Dame Grand Cross,
- His Eminence Archbishop Mor Athanasius Touma Dawod, Archbishop of UK, Syriac Orthodox Church, Knight Grand Cross,
- The Rt Rev and Rt Hon Lord Carey of Clifton, former Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Knight Grand Cross,
- His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain Head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Great Britain, Knight Grand Cross,
- His Grace The Duke of Westminster, Knight Grand Cross,
- His Grace The Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Knight Grand Cross,
- The Rt Hon Baroness Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Dame Grand Cross,
Issued by the: Tonga High Commission, London, 2012.