Cannons were fired and church bells rang out as the King of Tonga was crowned monarch of the tiny South Pacific nation on August 1 2008 in a ceremony attended by royalty and political leaders from around the world.
Dressed in crimson robes trimmed with white ermine, King George Tupou V sat on a gilt throne in the Free Wesleyan church in the capital of Nuku'alofa while a 300-strong choir performed Handel's coronation anthem, Zadok the Priest.
Speaking in Tongan, the 60-year-old sovereign took the oath of office before the Archbishop of Polynesia, Jabez Bryce, anointed the sovereign's head and hands with holy oil and entreated him to rule „wisely, justly and truly“.
A crown was placed on the king's head and he was handed a ring and a red and gold sceptre.
The western-style coronation for Polynesia's only monarch had been preceded earlier in the week by a traditional Tongan coronation ceremony in which he drank kava, a mildly narcotic beverage, and was presented with gifts of food from his people.
Among the guests were Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito, Thailand's Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and the prime minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, as well as nobility and royalty from most of the nations in the region. Britain was represented by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
The day had been declared a national holiday and outside crowds of Tongans waved flags in the country's colours of red and white in celebration. There were marching bands and the city centre had been decorated in flags, bunting and ceremonial arches made of palm fronds and banana leaves.
The elderly sovereign arrived at the church in a vintage Humber Super Snipe coupe, a British-made car once owned by his grandmother, Queen Salote, who endeared herself to the British public during the Queen's coronation in 1953 by riding in an open carriage in the rain.
At the end of the hour-long ceremony, the king was escorted by naval officers and courtiers down steps that had been covered in traditional mats. He was driven through the streets of Nuku'alofa as thousands of schoolchildren lined the route and cheered.
The king took the title two years ago after the death of his father, who had ruled for 41 years. The coronation was originally scheduled for last year but was postponed after pro-democracy riots left eight people dead and the centre of the capital looted and burned.
In the run-up to the coronation, the king announced that he was dismantling the country's semi-feudal political system in favour of a more democratically elected parliament. He has also divested himself of his business interests and made it clear that he will have more of a figurehead role in the future.
Among those who attended the coronation was pro-democracy campaigner Akilisi Pohiva, who has twice been jailed. He described the ceremony as „beautiful“ and said that the sense of uncertainty among Tongans about the future had been erased. „We are very proud of His Majesty. He was under pressure to change and he has,“ he said. „In fact, he has done more than we could have hoped for.“