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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK
In pictures: Tonga royal funeral

The catafalque bearing the coffin is carried to the burial grounds in Nuku'alofa

Tonga marked the funeral of its late King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV with a blend of Christian and traditional rituals.

Coffin of the late Tongan king

One thousand pallbearers took the coffin from the royal palace, where the king had been lying in state for five days.

Catafalque bearing the coffin is carried to the burial grounds in Nuku'alofa

They carried the coffin on a black catafalque to the royal burial grounds, Mala'e Kula, 500m away.

School girls lining the procession route

Students lined the procession route as a 21-gun artillery salute was fired across the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa.

The coffin is taken to the royal tombs

Mourners wore black and traditional ta'ovala grass mats.

Coffin is lowered into the royal tomb

Once the coffin was lowered into the tomb, royal undertakers carried out an ancient rite - filling the grave with sand they carried in woven baskets.

King Siaosi Tupou V

The new King Siaosi Tupou V wore the uniform of the Tongan armed forces for his father's funeral.

New Zealand PM Helen Clark hands a wreath to the royal undertaker

Dignitaries from 30 countries attended, including New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito (left) with Tongan Queen Halaevalu Mata'aho

Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito also attended, sitting here beside the late king's widow, Queen Halaevalu Mata'aho.

Statue of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV unveiled in the royal burial grounds

King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV was much loved in Tonga, having reigned for 41 years before his death at the age of 88.

Tonga's late king laid to rest
19 Sep 06 |  Asia-Pacific

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