Cambodia Marks 71st Birthday of King Norodom Sihamoni

Photo: Sem Vanna

PHNOM PENH – Cambodia celebrates on May 14 the 71st birthday of King Norodom Sihanomi. Since early morning, the King received messages from government officials expressing their best wishes. The day is a national holiday.

Prime Minister Hun Manet wished the king a long life to remain the shed of peace for the Cambodian people for generations to come, especially to shed light and promote arts, culture and religion. 

The US Embassy in Phnom Penh also wished the King good health and happiness while the Indian Embassy expressed its willingness to see the King continue to bring prosperity and harmony to the people of Cambodia. The other embassies in Cambodia also conveyed their best wishes to King Sihamoni.

Born in Phnom Penh on May 14, 1953, King Sihamoni spent 13 years studying in the Czech Republic – then called Czechoslovakia – leaving at 22 years old after graduating from the Academy of Performing Arts in 1975. 

He had meant to pursue his studies but ended up a prisoner in the royal palace with his parents, the late King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Monineath, during the Khmer Rouge regime. 

A Western-educated classical dancer and choreographer, King Sihamoni lived in Paris in the 1980s where he taught dance at two conservatories; created and managed the dance company “Deva;” and served as president of France’s Khmer dance association.

In 1992, he represented Cambodia at the United Nations in New York, and in 1993 became Cambodia’s ambassador to Unesco in Paris.  

He was crowned in October 2004 when his father, King Norodom Sihanouk, decided to step down from the throne. King Sihamoni speaks Khmer, French, Czech and English.  

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