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Tongan royals to wed as nation struggles with economic crisis

Published: 8:17PM Tuesday July 10, 2012 Source: ONE News

Celebrations are underway as Tonga prepares for an arranged Royal wedding between two second cousins.

The Crown Prince of Tonga Prince Tupouto'a Ukukalala will marry relative Sinaitakala Fakafanua on Thursday in the capital of Nuku'alofa in what is expected to be a lavish ceremony.

The Royal family are covering the cost of the wedding, unlike previous royal celebrations, as the small Pacific nation struggles with an economic crisis.

The Tongan Government could potentially fail within the week as it faces a vote of no confidence which has caused economic uncertainty amongst the nation's 104,000 residents. 

The Tongan economy is also predicted to be the slowest growing in the Pacific this year. 

Chamber of Commerce President Aloma Johansson said Tonga's businesses are struggling to feel confident in the current economic and political climate.

"Right now the businesses are not feeling that way, they are feeling very fragile at the moment," said Johansson.

"They are feeling vulnerable to all the political decisions that are being made."

Genetic closeness questioned

The genetic ties between the bride and groom has been called into question by some Royal critics. 

Both parents of the bride are the first cousins of the groom's father, King George Tupou V, who died in February.

However, many royals believe the match will make the Royal family stronger and ensure their survival in future generations.

Thursday's wedding is the first time in 65 years a Crown Prince has married in Tonga.