|Birth Day:||May 14, 1953|
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He studied dance and was a ballet instructor in France.
Sihamoni was born in 1953. His given name, Sihamoni, comprises two morphemes from his parents' given names, Sihanouk and Monineath. At the time of his birth and that of his younger brother, his mother Monique Izzi, a Khmer citizen of Corsican 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. 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 Corsican banker. 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.
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. In 1962 the young Sihamoni was sent to Prague, in then Czechoslovakia, by his father. During the 1970 coup d'état by Lon Nol, Sihamoni remained in Czechoslovakia. He completed elementary and secondary education in the country and studies in classical dance and music at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in 1975. As he spent almost his entire childhood and youth in Prague, the king is fluent in the Czech language. A movie directed by Vladimir Sís was shot about the prince in Prague in 1967, under the name "The Other Little Prince (Jiný malý princ).
After graduation 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.
In 1993 the prince was appointed Cambodia's delegate to UNESCO in Paris, 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.
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. 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.
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.
Cambodia had no lèse-majesté laws until recently. In February 2018, Cambodia's National Assembly passed new legislation making it an offence to insult the king.
Currently, Norodom Sihamoni is 69 years, 10 months and 11 days old. Norodom Sihamoni will celebrate 70th birthday on a Sunday 14th of May 2023.
Find out about Norodom Sihamoni birthday activities in timeline view here.