King George Tupou V of Tonga did not want a lavish state funeral and lengthy period of lying in state, his sister has revealed.
Her Royal Highness Princess Salote Mafile'o Pilolevu Tuita spoke to Michael Morrah in Nuku’alofa today, and said the late king was aware of Tonga’s economic crisis and wanted a simple farewell.
She says the late king “was a person who was always forward-thinking” and used the knowledge he gained in overseas education to become a “great leader” for Tonga.
“His Majesty wanted Tonga to be democratized, and that is part of his legacy,” Princess Pilolevu says.
“He always believed in giving people second chances, and he knew that he could never achieve what he wished for Tonga overnight.”
The king wanted to promote greater economic ties between Tonga and other Pacific regions, Princess Pilolevu says, and would want his family to “continue that legacy”.
She says it’s “important for people to know” that King George would have wanted to pass away as he did; “quickly, and away from Tonga, to cause minimum damage… to the economy and the people of Tonga”.
“He always told me he never wants to be bedridden… to be incapacitated,” she says.
Princess Pilolevu says while the king wanted a simple funeral, “it is difficult for us Tongans to simplify things… but we all did our best, and I’m sure he would have been happy with the results”.
Watch the video for the full interview