11 Sep 2006

The body of Tonga's King to be flown home on Wednesday

3:38 pm on 11 September 2006

The body of the King of Tonga, Taufau'ahau Tupou the Fourth, is to be flown home in two days time from Auckland.

The royal family was by the King's side when he died last night after spending much of the last year in hospital.

Our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the royal burial compound is being prepared and people are in mourning following the death of the King.

"It has been confirmed on national radio that the King's body will be flown in on Wednesday from Auckland to the kingdom. He will be flown on a Royal Air New Zealand plane and he will be lying in state for some time, allowing other foreign diplomats some time to make it to the funeral."

Mateni Tapueluelu says there is yet to be an official announcement that Crown Prince Tupou'toa had been sworn in as King but the chief justice says this occurred earlier today.