Norodom Chakrapong

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Prince Norodom Chakrapong (aka Naradhama Chakrabangsa) of Cambodia is the son of Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia.[1] Following years of guerilla fighting where he earned respect among the Sihanoukist resistance, he became a key figure in Cambodian politics in 1991. He is renowned for taking strong and independent stances, therefore often being kept away from official positions by the Cambodian government.

His official title is His Royal Highness Prince Samdech Preah Mohessara Norodom Chakrapong.

Royal Family of Cambodia
Royal Arms of Cambodia

King Norodom Sihanmoni

Biography[edit]

Born 21 October 1945 at the Khemarin Palace in Phnom Penh, he was educated in France, at the staff education institute of the Yugoslavian Air Force and in other military academies. During the 1960s, he served as a pilot in the Cambodian airforce.

Prince Chakrapong started his career as a pilot in the Royal Cambodian Army, after having been trained by the French. After Lon Nol's coup d'état in March 1970, he was originally kept under house arrest, then incarcerated in early 1973. In November 1973, he was allowed to go into exile in China along with Queen Sisowath Kossamak Nearirath. From the end of 1973 to 1975, he lived in exile in China with his father, whom he served as Chief of Protocol. After 1975, he relocated to France until the early 1980s, when he joined his father's resistance movement against the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia. Within Norodom Sihanouk's FUNCINPEC, he rose to the rank of deputy Chief of Staff of the Sihanoukist military, the Armee Nationale Sihanoukiste or ANS, and spent most of the eighties in refugee camps on the Thai-Cambodian border.

Following the Paris Peace Agreements in 1991 and the return of Norodom Sihanouk to Cambodia, Chakrapong left FUNCINPEC to become Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Cambodia and a member of Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) central committee. He was responsible for establishing Kampuchea Airways, the national carrier at that time.

After the 1993 UN-sponsored general election, he led a secession movement with several CPP members to force a coalition government, but had to flee to Vietnam after Hun Sen negotiated with FUNCINPEC. However, he claimed that the secession helped prevent the country from falling back into a civil war. He was later permitted to return to Cambodia. Subsequently, he was elevated to the rank of four star general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. In 1994, he was bestowed the title of "Sdech Krom Khun" (Great Prince) by King Sihanouk.

In July 1994, he was exiled again after having been accused of attempting a coup d'État[2] along with other CPP members General Sin Song and General Sin Sen. Prince Chakrapong has always claimed his innocence.[citation needed] He first went to Malaysia, then settled in France again.

In 1999, he was granted pardon by the King with Prime Minister Hun Sen's agreement and returned to Cambodia where he founded a private airline: Royal Phnom Penh Airways which operated until late 2005. Later he formed the Norodom Chakraping Proloung Khmer Party. This party integrated the FUNCINPEC Party after failing to win any seats in the 2003 election. In 2006, he was elected a senator and briefly held the post of Secretary General of FUNCINPEC which was already starting to split in different factions.

After his half-brother, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, was eventually evicted from FUNCINPEC's presidency in October 2006, Prince Norodom Chakrapong helped him create the Norodom Ranariddh Party of which he became Vice-President. FUNCINPEC consequently removed him from his position of senator.

In early 2007, Prince Chakrapong resigned from his position and retired from politics.

He is currently a High Privy Counsellor to the King whom he has proposed to assist in humanitarian activities. To this aim, he established the Samdech Norodom Racvivong Foundation which provides support to deprived rural schools and offers free classes of English and computer to poor students in Phnom Penh. The Foundation has received official recognition and support from the King and King Father of Cambodia as well as from institutions such as the French Embassy, the German Embassy and UNESCO.

Since 31 August 2004, Prince NORODOM Chakrapong has born the title of "Samdech Preah Mohessara", bestowed by then King Sihanouk.

Wives and children[edit]

As far as known, he has thirteen children and seven wives.

He married, firstly, Hun Soeun (Anak Munang Soeun) (born 1 August 1943), a member of the Hun family. She was a ballet dancer at the Royal Ballet of Cambodia. Date of marriage: unknown. Date of divorce: unknown.

  1. HRH Prince (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Buddhapong
  2. HRH Prince (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Amarithivong
  3. HRH Prince (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Naravong (Naradhama Nara Varman) (b. 1 August 1970)
  4. HRH Prince (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Narithipong
  5. HRH Prince (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Ravichak (Naradhama Ravi Chakra) (b. 1 January 1974)

He married, secondly, on 18 November 1965 at the Khemerin Palace in Phnom Penh, Kethy Tioulong (Anak Munang Kethy) (b. 5 August 1951). Date of divorce: unknown. She was the daughter of General Nhiek Tioulong.

  1. HRH Princess (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Nanda Dévi

He married, thirdly, on 10 November 1967 at the Khemerin Palace in Phnom Penh, Duong Diyath (Anak Munang Diyathi) (b. 5 April 1948). She was a daughter of Duaong.

  1. HRH Princess (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Vimalea (Naradhama Vimala) (b. 28 January 1968)
  2. HRH Princess (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Bophary (Naradhama Puspari) (b. 15 January 1971)
  3. HRH Prince (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Ithipong (Naradhama Indrabangsa) (b. 15 December 1972)

He married, fourthly, in 1974 in Peking, China, Duong Yany (Anak Munang Yani) (b. 4 February 1953). She was a daughter of Duong. Date of divorce: unknown.

  1. HRH Prince (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Rindra (Naradhama Narindra) (b. 12 January 1975)

He married, fifthly, Charuvan Dounchan[3] (Anak Munang Yaruvani) (b. 11 April 1956). She is a descendant of the Jedton Dynasty.[4]

  1. HRH Prince (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Charurak (Naradhama Charuraksha) (b. 1985)

He married, sixthly, Monirem (Anak Munang Munirimi).

  1. HRH Prince (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Pongmonireth (Naradhama Pungmuniratna) (b. 2000)
  2. HRH Princess (Anak Anga Machas) Norodom Pongsoriya (Naradhama Pungsuriya) (b. 1997)

He married, seventhly, Kachanipha.

References[edit]