Tonga. According to
countryaah, Tonga's King George Tupou V died March 18 at a
Hong Kong hospital, 63 years old. At the funeral a week
later, the king's coffin was carried from the palace to the
royal burial ground by over 1,000 coffin carriers dressed in
black shirts and traditional bastards. The streets were
bordered by people from the public. Some foreign political
leaders also attended the funeral. A grief period of three
months was announced. The direct cause of death was not
announced, but the king had been ill before and had removed
a kidney, among other things.
George Tupou V was succeeded by his little brother, Crown
Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka, who was given the royal name Tupou
VI. The new king, who was 52 when he took office, had held
various ministerial posts previously, including as prime
minister. Tupou VIwas described as more conservative than
his big brother, but he was still expected to continue the
democratization process Tupou V had begun. Tupou V had been
king since 2006, when he inherited the throne of his father.
By the end of the 1990s, he had begun a process from
absolute monarchy to increased democracy. In 2010, the
Tongans had to elect their parliamentarians for the first
time, the fold meant the end of 165 years of feudal rule.
The king had also made himself known for his eccentric
habits: he liked military uniforms, often wore monocles and
drove around in a black London taxi.