7 Jun 2005

Wallisian royal turns himself into police, putting king's future in doubt

8:24 pm on 7 June 2005

Police in Wallis and Futuna have arrested one of the king's grandsons, who'd been taking refuge in the royal palace.

The French authorities had threatened to instigate moves to depose the 86-year-old king of Wallis unless he handed over a grandson, convicted for manslaughter.

The chief of staff to the territory's French prefect says one of the king's grandson surrendered to police this morning.

Jean-Marie Oustry says it's not clear if the customary authorities have now deposed the king.

"According to the customary traditions when the royal families depose the king, he is deposed. So things are pretty complicated. I think one needs to wait a couple of days to see if he's truly been deposed, or if the royal families will reconsider their decision."

Mr Oustry says the four month-long dispute between the French prefect and the Wallisian monarch is now at an end, but the dispute continues between the Wallisian customary authorities.