Hundreds of pall bearers, wearing black clothes and traditional woven skirts, carried the flag-draped casket of King George Tupou V of Tonga on a black and gold bier from Tonga’s Royal Palace through the capital, Nuku’alofa yesterday.
The death of the monacle-wearing king, who had a penchant for Savile Row suits and driving around in a London taxi, had engulfed the country in a “black stormcloud”, Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano said.
Tupou was 63 when he died at a hospital in Hong Kong last week. He ruled for just eight years, but was much loved in Tonga for having introduced a democratically elected parliament and relinquishing absolute, monarchy.
Tongans will now wear black for the next 100 days of official mourning.