Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tongan King fare welled

This Tuesday, the Tongan people laid their monarch to rest. The body of His Majesty King George Tupou V was placed on a large wooden bier at noon after lying in a casket in the throne room of his palace where locals observed an overnight vigil.

The pall bearers, who according to an official programme for the funeral number 1,000, were drawn from former students of Tonga's Tupou College and villages throughout the country's main island of Tongatapu.

The Free Wesleyan Church bell began to toll as a Tonga Defence Services detachment led the procession as a guard of honour, followed by royal musicians, officiating clergy and church leaders and then the royal bier.

In 2006 a memorial service was held for the late King's father, His Majesty King Tupou IV and a surprising hymn was sung: Austria's Imperial Anthem, "Gott erhalte" in Tongan. (The German republics took Haydn's hymn and transformed it into their national anthem.)

The following message was sent by The Queen to King Tupou VI of Tonga:

It is with great sadness that I learnt of the death of your brother, His Majesty King George Tupou V. King George was a true statesman who served his country with distinction.

On behalf of the people of the United Kingdom,
Prince Philip and I wish to convey to your family and to the people of the Kingdom of Tonga our deepest sympathy at this sad time.


His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester represented the Queen at the funeral of King George Tupou V.

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