Queen Elizabeth II with Queen Sālote of Tonga during the Royal Tour of Tonga in December 1953.
Queen Sālote had captured the hearts of the spectators of Elizabeth’s coronation in June 1953, when she rode in an open carriage through London in the pouring rain. Tongan custom dictates that to show respect you must not imitate those who you are honoring, and so when other carriages were covered with hoods, the Queen of Tonga refused and remained smiling throughout the procession.
“My grandmother moved out [of the Royal Palace, so that the Queen could use it]. It’s a small palace, maybe one of the smallest palaces in the world. […] I remember my nanny taking me downstairs in the Royal Palace, dressed to the nines, but told to be very quiet. [They were worried] that one of us would scream out at the top of our lungs, with our hands pointed – ‘Oh, look, it’s the British Queen!’ or something, in Tongan. […] I remember Queen Sālote saying ‘She’s British, she’s not Tongan. So she’s able to keep the same figure, because they don’t eat Tongan food in England.’” – Sālote Mafile’o Pilolevu, Princess Royal of Tonga and granddaughter of Queen Sālote, speaking of the royal visit in 1953 when she was just two years old.