Norodom Sihanouk (Khmer: នរោត្តម សីហនុ; 31 October 1922 – 15 October 2012) was the King of Cambodia from 1941 to 1955 and again from 1993 to 2004. He was the effective ruler of Cambodia from 1953 to 1970. After his second abdication in 2004, he was known as “The King-Father of Cambodia” (Khmer: Preahmâhaviraksat), a position in which he retained many of his former responsibilities as constitutional monarch.
The son of King Norodom Suramarit and Queen Sisowath Kossamak, Sihanouk held so many positions since 1941 that the Guinness Book of World Records identifies him as the politician who has served the world’s greatest variety of political offices.These included two terms as king, two as sovereign prince, one as president, two as prime minister, as well as numerous positions as leader of various governments-in-exile. He served as puppet head of state for the Khmer Rouge government in 1975–1976.
Most of these positions were only honorific, including the last position as constitutional king of Cambodia. Sihanouk’s actual period of effective rule over Cambodia was from 9 November 1953, when Cambodia gained its independence from France, until 18 March 1970, when General Lon Nol and the National Assembly deposed him.
This event was a once in a lifetime chance to witness the reaction of the population of Cambodia react to the passing of a much loved and admired King. I spent many days on the project and took may thousands of images some of which are seen here.
The outpouring of National grief was overwhelming with thousands of people lining the streets and paying homage over several days. The area outside the Royal Palace was full of people for weeks after his body was returned from China.