Norodom Sihamoni


Norodom Sihamoni
Norodom Sihamoni
នរោត្តម សីហមុនី
King of Cambodia
Reign 14 October 2004 – present
Coronation 29 October 2004
Predecessor Norodom Sihanouk
Prime Ministers Hun Sen
House House of Norodom
Father Norodom Sihanouk
Mother Norodom Monineath
Born 14 May 1953 (1953-05-14) (age 58)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Norodom Sihamoni (Khmer: នរោត្តម សីហមុនី, born 14 May 1953) is the current reigning King of Cambodia. He is the eldest son of Norodom Sihanouk and Norodom Monineath Sihanouk. Previously Cambodia's ambassador to UNESCO, he was named by a nine-member throne council to become the next king after his father Norodom Sihanouk abdicated in 2004. Before ascending the throne, Sihamoni was best known for his work as a cultural ambassador in Europe and as a classical dance instructor.

Contents

Life

Sihamoni was born in 1953. At the time of his birth and that of his younger .

King Norodom Sihamoni has 14 half-brothers and half-sisters by his father's various relationships; his only full sibling, a younger brother, HRH Samdech Norodom Narindrapong (born 1954) died in 2003.

He has spent most of his life outside Cambodia. As a child, Sihamoni was sent to Prague, Czechoslovakia, by his father in 1962, where he, while attending elementary school, high school and Academy of Music Arts, studied classical dance and music until 1975. He is fluent in French and Czech, as well as being a good speaker of English and Russian. During the 1970 coup d'état by Lon Nol, Sihamoni remained in Czechoslovakia. In 1975, he left Prague and began to study filmmaking in North Korea, and in 1977 returned to his native Cambodia. Immediately, the ruling Khmer Rouge government turned against the monarchy, and Sihamoni was put under house arrest by the Khmer Rouge with the rest of the royal family until the 1979 Vietnamese invasion. In 1981, he moved to France to teach ballet and was later president of the Khmer Dance Association. He lived in France for nearly 20 years, but even then he regularly visited Prague, where he spent his childhood and youth. He is the only ruling monarch who speaks Czech.

In 1993, the prince was appointed Cambodia's delegate to UNESCO, the UN cultural body based in Paris, where he became known for his hard work and his devotion to Cambodian culture. He previously refused an appointment as Cambodia's ambassador to France.[1]

Royal Standard of the King of Cambodia

On 14 October 2004, he was selected by a special nine-member council, part of a selection process that was quickly put in place after the surprise abdication of King Norodom Sihanouk a week before. Sihamoni's selection was endorsed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly Speaker Prince Norodom Ranariddh (the new king's brother), both members of the privy council. He was inaugurated and formally anointed as King on Friday, 29 October 2004.[2] King Sihamoni and his parents, King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath specifically requested that the ceremonies be kept low-key because they did not wish for the impoverished country to spend too much money on the event.

The original gold and diamond encrusted crown, a sacred symbol of Mount Meru, used in official coronation ceremonies in Cambodia for centuries dating back to the ancient Angkorian Empire, disappeared along with many other items of Royal Regalia during the Lon Nol regime in the early 1970s. As stated by Julio A. Jeldres, King Father Norodom Sihanouk's official biographer, "The King did not want a crown remade because of Cambodia's poverty."[3]

Sihamoni remains a bachelor. His father Norodom Sihanouk has stated that Sihamoni "loves women as his sisters"[7]. Sihamoni has no children, but this does not pose a problem because the King in Cambodia is selected by the throne council even when such a successor exists.

Title

Styles of
The King of Cambodia
Royal Arms of Cambodia.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sire

Before he was crowned king, his royal title was: Sdech Krom Khun (ស្តេចក្រុមឃុន), equating him to the rank of 'great prince.' As king, his title is: Preah Karuna Preah Bat Sâmdech Preah Bâromneath Norodom Sihamoni Nai Preah Reacheanachakr Kampuchea (in romanized Khmer); roughly translating to: His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni of the Kingdom of Cambodia. His given name, Sihamoni, comprises two morphemes from his parent's given names, Sihanouk and Monineath.

Advisory court

On 12 December 2008, Sihamoni selected twenty-six members of the Cambodian royal family to his advisory court, among them his half-brother Prince Norodom Ranariddh as chief advisor. Other choices included Prince Sisowath Sirirath, Princess Norodom Marie (estranged wife of Prince Ranariddh) and Prince Sisowath Thomico.[4]

Awards

  • Cambodia Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Cambodia
  • Cambodia Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Monisaraphon
  • France Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor
  • France Silver Medal of the City of Paris

References

  1. ^ The Weekend Australian, 16–17 October 2004
  2. ^ In Pictures: King Sihamoni's coronation
  3. ^ Cambodia's real crown long gone, October 15, 2004. Accessed March 5, 2010.
  4. ^ More royals could face political exit Phnom Penh Post, 12 December 2008

Further reading

  • Miroslav Nožina, Jiří Šitler, and Karel Kučera. Royal Ties: King Norodom Sihamoni and the History of Czech-Cambodian Relations. Prague: Knižní klub, 2006. ISBN 9788086938752

External links

Norodom Sihamoni
House of Norodom
Born: 14 May 1953
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Norodom Sihanouk
King of Cambodia
2004–present
Incumbent

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