Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Time in office:||Since October 14, 2004|
|Date of Birth:||May 14, 1953|
|Place of Birth:||Phnom Penh|
H.M. Samdech Preah Bāromneath Norodom Sihamoni (born May 14, 1953 in Phnom Penh) is the King of Cambodia, the son of King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Monineath . Previously Cambodia's ambassador to UNESCO, he was named by a nine-member throne council as Sihanouk's successor.
The then, Prince Sihamoni was best known for his work as a cultural ambassador in Europe and his keen support for the arts. He 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. During the 1970 coup de tat 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. Immediatly, 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 has spent most of his life outside Cambodia.
In 1993 the prince was appointed Cambodian delegate to UNESCO, the UN cultural body based in Paris, where he became known for his hard work and his devotion to Cambodia.
On October 14, 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 throne council. He was crowned in Phnom Penh on October 29.
Sihamoni remains a bachelor and has no children, which means he does not have a direct successor if one were to be required. However, this should not be a problem as the King in Cambodia is selected by the throne council.
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