27 Mar 2012

Funeral for Tonga's late King underway

2:44 pm on 27 March 2012

Several thousand people have gathered at the royal burial ground in Tonga for the funeral of the late King George Tupou the Fifth.

150 former college pupils carried the King's casket in a procession from the Royal Palace in Nuku'alofa where the King had been lying in state.

The Royal Chaplain the Reverend Dr Ahio conducted a service of prayers and hymns which was followed by the playing of The Last Post.

Many foreign dignitaries are there, including Fiji's president, Samoa's head of state, the Governors General of New Zealand and Australia, and the leaders of Niue and Kiribati.

The royal casket is being carried from its platform to the traditional caretakers, or ha'atufunga for entombment rites.