California: Prince and Princess of Tongo die in car crash

Prince Tu'ipelehake, 56, and Princess Kaimana, 46, died in Wednesday night's freeway crash in Menlo Park, California, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of San Francisco, according to Senter Uhilamoelangi, a distant relative and longtime friend of the prince.

Uhilamoelangi, 59, said Thursday the couple had arrived in the San Francisco Bay area earlier this week to discuss political reforms in Tonga with members of the region's Tongan community. Uhilamoelangi, a Tonga native and East Palo Alto resident, helped arrange the visit, the AP reports.

Tu'ipelehake, a nephew of 88-year-old King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, was the leading reformist in the royal family. He was head of a national committee studying democratic reforms for the kingdom.

The deaths stunned the Tongan community, which was just finishing celebrations of ailing King Tupou IV's birthday on July 4.

The prince had been scheduled to speak at the First Tongan United Methodist Church in San Bruno on Thursday night, but the event turned into a memorial service.