Norodom Sihamoni

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Norodom Sihamoni
Norodom crop.jpg
King of Cambodia
Reign 14 October 2004 – present
Coronation 29 October 2004
Predecessor Norodom Sihanouk
Prime Minister Hun Sen
Born (1953-05-14) 14 May 1953 (age 63)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
House House of Norodom
Father Norodom Sihanouk
Mother Norodom Monineath
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Norodom Sihamoni (Khmer: នរោត្តម សីហមុនី; born 14 May 1953) became the King of Cambodia on 14 October 2004.[1] He is the eldest son of Norodom Sihanouk and his second wife Norodom Monineath. He was Cambodia's ambassador to UNESCO and 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.

Early life[edit]

King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Ploughing Ceremony in Phnom Penh.
King Norodom Sihamoni meeting with South Korean president Lee Myung-bak at the Royal Palace in 2009.
King Norodom Sihamoni with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on 1 November 2010.

Sihamoni was born in 1953. At the time of his birth and that of his younger brother, his mother Monique Izzi, a Cambodian citizen of French-Corsican-Italian and Khmer ancestry, had been one of King Norodom Sihanouk's consorts after being a constant companion since the day they met in 1951, when she won first prize in a national beauty contest.[2] She was granted the title of Neak Moneang and the name of Monineath at the time of her marriage to King Norodom Sihanouk in 1952. Furthermore, Queen Monineath is a step-granddaughter of the late Prince Norodom Duongchak of Cambodia, and the daughter of Pomme Peang and of her second husband, Jean-François Izzi, a French-Italian banker.[3] The Royal Ark website entry about the genealogy of the Cambodian royal family states that Sihanouk and Monineath were married twice, once on 12 April 1952, when she was 15, and again ("more formally", according to the website) on 5 March 1955. She is described as Sihanouk's seventh wife.

Norodom Sihamoni has 14 half-brothers and half-sisters by his father; his only full sibling, a younger brother, Samdech Norodom Narindrapong, was born in 1954 and 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 attended elementary school, high school and Academy of Music Arts, and studied classical dance and music almost continuously until 1975. 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 Cambodia. Immediately, the ruling Khmer Rouge government turned against the monarchy, and put the royal family including Sihamoni under house arrest 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, regularly visiting Prague, where he had spent his childhood and youth. He is the only ruling monarch who speaks Czech. Besides his native Khmer, he is fluent in French and Czech and is a good speaker of English and Russian.

In 1993 the prince was appointed Cambodia's delegate to Paris-based UNESCO, where he became known for his hard work and his devotion to Cambodian culture. He had previously refused an appointment as Cambodia's ambassador to France.[4]


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 half brother), both members of the privy council. He was inaugurated and formally appointed as King on 29 October 2004.[5] King Sihamoni and his parents, King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath specifically requested that the ceremonies not be lavish because they did not wish the impoverished country to spend too much money on the event. On 29 October 2014, there were celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of his coronation.[6]

Sihamoni remains a bachelor and has no children. His father Norodom Sihanouk stated that Sihamoni "loves women as his sisters".[7]


Styles of
The King of Cambodia
Royal Standard of the King 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 (Khmer: ស្តេចក្រុមឃុន), equating him to the rank of Great Prince. As king, his title is: Preah Karuna Preah Bat Sâmdach Preah Bâromneath Norodom Sihamoni Saman Bhumichat Sasana Rakkhata Khattiya Khmeraratrat Putthintra Mohaksat Khemareacheana Samuhobhas Kampuchea Ekareacharath Bureanasanti Subheamagala Sirivibunla Khmera Sri Bireat Preah Chao Krung Kampuchea Dhibodi Preah Mohaksat Nai Preah Reacheanachak Kampuchea (in romanized Khmer); roughly translating to: His Merciful Excellent Majesty Protector, King Norodom Sihamoni, who united the nation, religion, realm, and people of Khmer state, great king who is supported by Buddha and Indra, protector of independence, uninfication, and peace, King of Cambodia, the Great King in the Kingdom of Cambodia. His given name, Sihamoni, comprises two morphemes from his parent's given names, Sihanouk and Monineath.

Advisory court[edit]

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.[8]



Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "People and Society ::Cambodia". 
  2. ^ "The First Lady of the Kingdom"; The Royal House of Cambodia by Julio A. Jeldres, 2003 OCLC 54003889
  3. ^ King's biography Archived 27 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ The Weekend Australian, 16–17 October 2004
  5. ^ "In Pictures: King Sihamoni's coronation". BBC News. 29 October 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Willemyns, Alex (29 October 2014). "10 Years into Sihamoni's Reign, A Changed Palace". The Cambodia Daily. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "CAMBOA21". Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  8. ^ More royals could face political exit Phnom Penh Post, 12 December 2008
  9. ^ Royal Ark
  10. ^ Embassy of Cambodia

Further reading[edit]

  • Miroslav Nožina, Jiří Šitler, and Karel Kučera. Royal Ties: King Norodom Sihamoni and the History of Czech-Cambodian Relations. Prague: Knižní klub, 2006. ISBN 978-80-86938-75-2

External links[edit]

Norodom Sihamoni
Born: 14 May 1953
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Norodom Sihanouk
King of Cambodia