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Salote Tupou III
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Monarch
    (March 13, 1900-December 16, 1965)
    Born in Tonga
    Queen of Tonga (1918-65)
    Named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1932)
    The proper pronunciation of her name is not obvious. (It's 'sal-oh-tay.')
    She weighed over 380 pounds at her heaviest.
    She attended Queen Elizabeth II's coronation wearing a gown made of bark.
    When a spectator asked who a diminutive man sharing her coach was, Noel Coward replied, 'Her lunch.'
    She established the country's first health department to deal with the 1918-19 Spanish influenza epidemic.
    She promoted native Polynesian arts and crafts, and herself wrote a number of dance songs and love poems.
    During Elizabeth's coronation, she endeared herself to Britons (except perhaps Noel Coward) by riding in an open carriage, smiling and waving at the crowds, despite a pouring rain.
    She commented, 'The public was as wet as I was, and we were both enjoying ourselves.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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