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Tonga prepares funeral for king

Tonga will hold a state funeral for its king on March 28.

King George Tupou V died on Sunday in Hong Kong at the age of 63. The cause has not been released.

Government spokesman Paula Mau said his body will be flown home to the small Pacific island nation.

The body will lie in state for two days at the royal palace in the capital, Nuku'alofa, before being transported about 1,000 feet to the royal tomb.

Mr Mau said he expects thousands from Tonga and many foreign dignitaries to attend the funeral.

The country has begun three months of official mourning. Wearing black is encouraged and celebrations and music are discouraged.

The new king, Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka, will go by the title King Tupou VI.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the Queen was "deeply saddened" to hear of the king's death.

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