20 Nov 2002

Fiji chiefs say Britain's Elizabeth still Queen of Fiji

11:53 am on 20 November 2002

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs has declared that Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is still Queen of Fiji.

The council chairman, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says this is the case despite Fiji being independent since 1970 and a republic since the first coup of 1987.

Speaking to the news agency AFP, Ratu Epeli said Fiji's status as a republic only represented severance from the Queen as head of state at government level.

He says the royal "Tui Viti" and the "Vunivalu" titles had been bestowed upon the English throne in a traditional installation procedure in 1902 and confirmed in 1937.

Rau Epeli says it is not widely known that she is the paramount chief of Fiji in the traditional sense.