Tonga king funeral March 28; 3 months of mourning

AP News
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Posted: Mar 19, 2012 8:36 PM
Tonga king funeral March 28; 3 months of mourning

Tonga will hold a state funeral for its king on March 28.

King George Tupou V died Sunday in Hong Kong at age 63. The cause has not been released.

Government spokesman Paula Mau said his body will be flown home and arrive in the small Pacific island nation on Monday. The body will lie in state for two days at the royal palace in the capital, Nuku'alofa, before being transported about 300 meters (1,000 feet) to the royal tomb.

Mau said he expects thousands from Tonga and many foreign dignitaries to attend the funeral. The country has begun three months of official mourning. Wearing black is encouraged and celebrations and music are discouraged.

The new king, Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka, will go by the title King Tupou VI.