TONGA MOURNS DEATH OF ROYAL SON

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Feb. 17) - The Kingdom of Tonga is mourning the death of one of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV’s sons today.

Radio Tonga reports the king’s second son, Noble Maatu, 48, collapsed and died yesterday following a heart attack.

He is the first of the royal siblings to die and leaves his elder brother, Crown Prince Tupuoto’a and Prime Minister ’Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, and sister Pilolevu Tuita.

Maatu was a controversial figure in the kingdom, as he married a commoner, the daughter of a Hawaiian millionaire, Heimataura Anderson, who later died of cancer.

The king officially annulled the marriage and stripped his son and his heirs of any royal rights.

Later Maatu married a granddaughter of Samoa’s Head of State Malietoa Tanumafili II.

In the late 1990s, Maatu took one of the noble seats in the Legislative Assembly.

No official announcement has been made yet on funeral arrangements, or whether he will be laid to rest at the traditional royal burial ground in the capital Nuku’alofa.

February 18, 2004

Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/

 

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