Tonga's King George V laid to rest

2012-03-27 12:01

Wellington - Tonga's King George Tupou V, who died aged 63 in a Hong Kong hospital last week after fewer than six years on the throne, was laid to rest in the royal tomb on Tuesday, news reports from the capital Nukualofa said.

The late king was taken to his final resting place by 150 pallbearers who carried a platform bearing his casket in a procession led by 200 soldiers and brass bands in front of students from local colleges sitting with their heads bowed, Radio New Zealand International reported.

Earlier, a crowd of about 10 000 people gathered to listen to the funeral service broadcast from the royal chapel.

The body of the king had lain in state at the royal palace since it was flown in from Hong Kong on Monday. Visitors paying their respects included Britain's Prince Richard the Duke of Gloucester and Japan's Prince and Princess Hitachi.

The king is succeeded by his younger brother who will be King Tupou VI, reigning over his 106 000 subjects in the last remaining monarchy in the Pacific.