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Respects paid to King Father on anniversary of his death

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Tram Iv Tek (front right) leads a procession at a ceremony marking the 7th anniversary of the death of King Father Norodom Sihanouk. Heng Chivoan

Respects paid to King Father on anniversary of his death

The government and people throughout the country paid their respects on Tuesday to the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk on the seventh anniversary of his death.

A message from Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, which was originally shared on November 1, 2012, describing her husband’s final moments, was also re-posted on Facebook on Sunday.

In the post on the Royal du Cambodge page, the Queen Mother said on the night of October 14, 2012, the King Father started to experience chest pains.

The Queen Mother and officials looking after him in Beijing, China, immediately transported the King Father from the palace to hospital.

In her message, the Queen Mother described her husband’s final activities in hospital.

She said she phoned King Norodom Sihamoni in Phnom Penh to tell him about the situation and handed the phone to the King Father. After listening to his son, she said, the King Father smiled and said a few words.

“This was the last time the King Father spoke to his son. He had never liked to speak on the phone, but this call brought a smile to his face just hours before his death,” the Queen Mother wrote.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is in Hungary leading a high-level delegation to the third Budapest Water Summit under the theme Preventing Water Crises, also posted a message on his Facebook page paying respects to the late King Father.

“Although he has passed away, the Cambodian people still remember his supreme monarchy.

“People throughout the country will never forget his achievement in demanding independence from France on November 9, 1953, which allowed Cambodia to regain its pride and has resulted in the growth that continues until today.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to the late King Father for his dedication and devotion to the nation. At the same time, we pledge to continue carrying out his highest ideals and maintain peace for the people,” Hun Sen said.

Sihanouk was born on October 31, 1922, and passed away in Beijing on October 15, 2012, at the age of 89.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A wreath is carried at a ceremony marking the seventh anniversary of the death of King Norodom Sihanouk. Heng Chivoan

He was a greatly charismatic leader and revered as something of a God-King during the height of his power in the 1950s and 60s.

Sihanouk served both as King and then prime minister after taking the daring step of abdicating from the throne to enter politics.

In 1970, he was ousted as prime minister in a bloodless coup d’etat led by the right-wing general Lon Nol and watched from exile in China as Cambodia slid further into the turmoil of the Vietnam War that preceded the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.

The prince returned to his country after it fell to the Khmer Rouge in 1975.

As Cambodia began to recover after Vietnamese-backed guerrillas liberated the country in 1979, Sihanouk once again entered into the political fray but finally abdicated the throne in 2004 to his son Norodom Sihamoni.

His greatest achievement was securing Cambodian independence from France after the Japanese occupation of Cambodia during the Second World War.

On his 89th birthday in 2011, the King Father sent a message to the Cambodian people. “We don’t want to be a superpower but we want the world to know that we are united. Solidarity is a powerful force,” he said.

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