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Cambodian king dances to PM’s tune

June 8, 2011 Leave a comment
By Denis D.Gray

King Norodom Sihamoni, a former ballet dancer, is a prisoner in his own palace as Prime Minister Hun Sen controls the former’s powers, writes DENIS D. GRAY.
King Norodom Sihamoni (left) and Prime Minister Hun Sen applaud the gentleman’s agreement between them. — AP picture  

AS the sun sets and the last tourist departs his vast, fairy-tale palace, the gentle, dignified man is left almost alone with memories of happier times, before he became the reluctant king of Cambodia, and perhaps its last.

King Norodom Sihamoni may be heir to a royal line trailing back some 2,000 years, but he always seemed more suited to the arts scene in Europe, where he was a ballet dancer, than the rough and tumble politics of his homeland. Now, close aides and experts say, he has become figuratively, and more, a prisoner in his own palace.

The chief warden: Prime Minister Hun Sen, who rose from a poor rural background to become a brilliant and crafty, some say ruthless, politician. He consolidated power in a 1997 coup as Cambodia slowly emerged from being dragged into the Vietnam War and its own civil war.

The king is surrounded by the government’s watchdogs, overseen by Minister of Royal Affairs Kong Som Ol, an official close to Hun Sen. 

Sihamoni is closely chaperoned on his few trips outside palace walls, with the media kept away. Although the constitution endows him with considerable powers, these have never been granted.

“I think we can use the words ‘puppet king’. His power has been reduced to nothing,” said Son Chhay, an opposition member of parliament and one of the government’s few outspoken critics.

It wasn’t always so. Sihamoni’s flamboyant and charismatic father, Norodom Sihanouk, bestrode the country like a colossus for decades. Many regarded him as a god-king, and thousands flocked to the plaza fronting the Royal Palace for fireworks and other lavish celebrations on his birthday.

Sihanouk abruptly abdicated in 2004 following confrontations with Hun Sen. Son Chhay and others say Sihamoni accepted the crown under pressure from parents hoping to ensure the survival of the monarchy.

Seven years later, “sad, lonely, abandoned” are words sympathetic Cambodians often use when describing Sihamoni. The 58-year-old monarch spent much of each day signing documents, receiving guests and handling other routine business, then retired mostly to dine alone and read, said Prince Sisowath Thomico, Sihanouk’s private secretary and an adviser to his son.

Unlike his father, who had six wives and numerous lovers, Sihamoni is a lifelong bachelor and unlikely to leave an heir.

His birthday passed recently with little notice. Within the palace’s walls, among the graceful pavilions and gilt spires, there was no sign of activity. 

Outside, knots of people went about their normal evening pastimes at the grassy, riverfront square, feeding pigeons, lounging on reed mats and snacking on lotus seeds and noodles.

Sin Chhay, a young civil servant at the plaza, said: “The king is a good, gentle man, a symbol of Cambodia. But he has one problem: no power. He only stays inside the palace. On television, the leaders bow down before him, but behind his back, there is no respect.”

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said the king was involved in social and religious affairs and judicial reviews, received a monthly report from Hun Sen on government activities and made recommendations on them.

“As a king and symbol of national unity, he maintains strict neutrality and doesn’t become involved in any political activities. To say that he’s a prisoner in the palace would be inappropriate.”

Sihamoni spent 25 years in Czechoslovakia and France.

After the fall of the brutal Khmer Rouge, Sihanouk went to Paris, from where he backed resistance against a Vietnamese-installed government that replaced it.

Sihamoni also went to the French capital and stayed on even after his father was restored as king in 1993. He taught, performed and choreographed classical Cambodian dance as well as Western ballet and served as ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

He gave up this much-cherished life to become king in 2004.

The king’s high privy councillor, Son Soubert, who is aligned with one of the two small opposition parties with parliamentary seats, said the government had blocked passage of two constitutional provisions: the formation of a potentially powerful Supreme Council of National Defence headed by the king, and an annual National Congress that would continue the tradition of citizens appealing directly to the monarch.

Commenting on the congress, Khieu Kanharith said that in today’s Cambodia, such a meeting would be a mess and powerless to override any decisions made by an elected National Assembly.

Some question just how much power Sihamoni wanted to wield or was capable of exercising.

Milton Osborne, an Australian historian and author of a Sihanouk biography, said: “If he were to try to take a political role, I have no doubt Hun Sen would diminish him and the monarchy almost immediately. Which is why he is effectively a prisoner in the palace.

“He could very well be the last king of Cambodia.”

Prince Sisowath Thomico, the adviser, said there was no animosity between king and prime minister and said Cambodia’s monarchy had merely entered a new stage, shedding its political role.

“The king now serves as a guardian of the past, of tradition, the moral character of Cambodia and points the way ahead for future generation. We leave the present to the government.”

By most accounts, Sihamoni is still largely respected, especially in the countryside. 

He is probably considered less relevant in urban areas, especially among an extremely young population — the median age is about 23 — that was not around during Sihanouk’s heyday, before violence engulfed the country.

Prince Norodom Ranarridh, who heads a pro-monarchy party, said Cambodians were “still royalists at heart” and held a nuanced view of his half brother.

The king didn’t exercise his prerogatives under the constitution to avoid jeopardising an institution he regarded as more important than himself, Ranarridh said. 

At the same time, Sihamoni’s personality is unassertive, so he falls comfortably into the role of doing the minimum.

“So both the king and prime minister are very happy with the situation. It is some kind of a gentlemen’s agreement,” the prince said, laughing.

But, he added: “I don’t think my brother is very happy. He would like to be somewhere else.” — AP



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Categories: Cambodia King, Local News

Cambodia’s king seen as a ‘prisoner’ in his palace

May 30, 2011 Leave a comment
PENH, Cambodia (AP) –As the sun sets and the last tourist departs his vast, fairy-tale
palace, the gentle, dignified man is left almost alone with memories of
happier times, before he became the reluctant king of Cambodia — and
perhaps its last.
In this May 21, 2011 photo, Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni greets
wellwishers during an annual royal plowing ceremony in Phnom Penh,
Cambodia. The king may be heir to a royal line trailing back some 2,000
years, but he always seemed more suited to the arts scene in Europe,
than the rough and tumble politics of his homeland. Now, close aides and
experts say, he has become figuratively, and more, a prisoner in his
own palace. Heng Sinith / AP
King Norodom Sihamoni may be heir to a royal line trailing back some
2,000 years, but he always seemed more suited to the arts scene in
Europe, where he was a ballet dancer, than the rough and tumble politics
of his homeland. Now, close aides and experts say, he has become
figuratively, and more, a prisoner in his own palace.
The chief warden: Prime Minister Hun Sen, who rose from a poor rural
background to become a brilliant and crafty, some say ruthless,
politician.
Hun Sen consolidated power in a 1997 coup as Cambodia slowly emerged
from being dragged into the Vietnam War and its own civil war. While the
country is nominally democratic, he uses all the machinery of
government to lock up critics and ensure his re-election. Human rights
groups allege that he and his business friends are enriching themselves,
while most of the population remains mired in poverty.
His control extends over the palace. The king is surrounded by the
government’s watchdogs, overseen by Minister of Royal Affairs Kong Som
Ol, an official close to Hun Sen. Sihamoni is closely chaperoned on his
few trips outside palace walls, with the media kept away. Although the
constitution endows him with considerable powers, these have never been
granted.
“I think we can use the words ‘puppet king.’ His power has been
reduced to nothing,” says Son Chhay, an opposition member of Parliament
and one of the government’s few outspoken critics. “The king must please
the prime minister as much as possible in order to survive. It is sad
to see.”
It wasn’t always so. Sihamoni’s flamboyant and charismatic father,
Norodom Sihanouk, bestrode the country like a colossus for decades. Many
regarded him as a god-king, and thousands flocked to the plaza fronting
the Royal Palace for fireworks and other lavish celebrations on his
birthday.
Sihanouk abruptly abdicated in 2004 following confrontations with Hun
Sen. Son Chhay and others say Sihamoni accepted the crown under
pressure from parents hoping to ensure the survival of the monarchy.
Seven years later, “sad, lonely, abandoned” are words sympathetic
Cambodians often use when describing Sihamoni. The 58-year-old monarch
spends much of each day signing documents, receiving guests and handling
other routine business, then retires mostly to dine alone and read,
says Prince Sisowath Thomico, Sihanouk’s private secretary and an
adviser to his son.
Unlike his father, who had six wives and numerous lovers, Sihamoni is a lifelong bachelor and unlikely to leave an heir.
His birthday passed recently with little notice. Within the palace’s
crenelated walls, among the graceful pavilions and gilt spires, there
was no sign of activity. Outside, knots of people went about their
normal evening pastimes at the grassy, riverfront square, feeding
pigeons, lounging on reed mats and snacking on lotus seeds and noodles.
“The king is a good, gentle man, a symbol of Cambodia. But he has one
problem: no power. He only stays inside the palace. On television the
leaders bow down before him but behind his back there is no respect,”
said Sin Chhay, a young civil servant at the plaza. “You could say that
Hun Sen is the real king of Cambodia.”
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith insists the king is involved in
social and religious affairs and judicial reviews, receives a monthly
report from Hun Sen on government activities and makes recommendations
on them.
“The current King Sihamoni has played an important role in restoring
the … monarchy. As a king and symbol of national unity he maintains
strict neutrality and doesn’t become involved in any political
activities,” he said. “To say that he’s a prisoner in the palace would
be inappropriate.”
Sihamoni, a former ballet dancer and cultural ambassador, spent 25
years in Czechoslovakia and France. That European past, Western
diplomats say, is his great escape.
He returns regularly to what is now the Czech Republic, calling it “my
second homeland,” and has said his time in Prague “belongs to the
happiest in my life.” Fluent in the language — which reportedly vexes
his keepers trying to eavesdrop on conversations with Czech visitors —
he avidly reads Czech theater reviews and savors DVDs of ballets and
operas.

He
keeps in close touch with the family that cared for him after he
arrived in the Czech capital at age 9. Thirteen years later, he
graduated from Prague’s Academy of Musical Art.

Shortly after, he joined his parents, who were being kept under
virtual house arrest within the palace by the brutal Khmer Rouge
government, which came to power after defeating a U.S.-backed government
in 1975. Sihamoni worked in the palace gardens and cleaned out the
throne hall.

An estimated 1.7 million people died during the Khmer Rouge reign of
terror, including more than a dozen of Sihanouk’s children and
relatives.

Three decades later, the country is still coming to terms with that
period. A U.N.-assisted tribunal is trying a handful of the surviving
leaders of the Khmer Rouge, but the trials have been plagued by long
delays and corruption allegations.

Sihamoni has had only ceremonial involvement with the tribunal. Any
deeper association would irritate both Hun Sen and Sihanouk, who for a
time allied himself with the Khmer Rouge but has also supported the
trials.

After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, Sihanouk went to Paris, from where
he backed resistance against a Vietnamese-installed government that
replaced it.

Sihamoni also went to the French capital and stayed on even after his
father was restored as king in 1993. He taught, performed and
choreographed classical Cambodian dance as well as Western ballet and
served as ambassador to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization.

He gave up this much-cherished life to become king in 2004.

The king’s high privy councilor, Son Soubert, who is aligned with one
of the two small opposition parties with parliamentary seats, says the
government has blocked passage of two constitutional provisions: the
formation of a potentially powerful Supreme Council of National Defense
headed by the king, and an annual National Congress that would continue
the tradition of citizens appealing directly to the monarch.

Commenting on the congress, the information minister said that in
today’s Cambodia such a meeting would be a mess and powerless to
override any decisions made by an elected National Assembly.

Some question just how much power Sihamoni wants to wield or is capable of exercising.

“If he were to try to take a political role I have no doubt Hun Sen
would act to diminish him and the monarchy generally almost immediately.
Which is why he is effectively a prisoner in the palace,” says Milton
Osborne, an Australian historian and author of a Sihanouk biography. “He
could very well be the last king of Cambodia.”

Prince Sisowath Thomico, the adviser, insists there is no animosity
between king and prime minister and says Cambodia’s monarchy has merely
entered a new stage, shedding its political role.

“The king now serves as a guardian of the past, of tradition, the
moral character of Cambodia and points the way ahead for future
generations,” he says. “We leave the present to the government.”

By most accounts, Sihamoni is still largely respected, especially in
the countryside. He is probably considered less relevant in urban areas,
especially among an extremely young population — the median age is
about 23 — that was not around during Sihanouk’s heyday, before violence
engulfed the country.

Prince Norodom Ranarridh, who heads a pro-monarchy party, believes
Cambodians are “still royalists at heart” and holds a nuanced view of
his half brother.

The king doesn’t exercise his prerogatives under the constitution to
avoid jeopardizing an institution he regards as more important than
himself, Ranarridh said. At the same time, Sihamoni’s personality is
unassertive, so he falls comfortably into the role of doing the minimum.

“So both the king and prime minister are very happy with the
situation. It is some kind of a gentlemen’s agreement,” the prince says,
laughing.

But he adds: “I don’t think my brother is very happy. He would like to be somewhere else.”

___

Associated Press writer Grant Peck in Bangkok contributed to this story.

Categories: Cambodia King, Local News

Cambodian king has better things to do than royal wedding

April 23, 2011 Leave a comment
King Sihamoni said he won’t attend Will and Kate’s nuptials because he has something “important to do.”
Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni in Prague on March 19, 2010. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)
Sir Elton John will be there. So will the sultan of Brunei.
David and Victoria Beckham have even managed to pencil it in.
But the king of Cambodia? He has better things to do than attend the nuptials of Will and Kate.
King Norodom Sihamoni, the 57-year-old former ballet dancer, has reportedly declined his invitation to the royal wedding.
According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, the king doesn’t even have a very good excuse, other than that he has “another important engagement.”
“The King cannot come to the Royal Wedding because he has a very
tight schedule,” a spokesman for the Cambodian embassy told the Daily
Mail.
While Sihamoni has always blazed his own trail, perhaps most
notably in remaining an unmarried monarch, he isn’t the first to turn
up his nose at a royal wedding.
His father, King Norodom Sihanouk — who is still alive but
abdicated the throne in 2004 — refused to attend Princess Alexandra’s
wedding in 1963 after being told that he wouldn’t get a guard of honor
and he couldn’t stay at Windsor Castle.

Related Post: King of Cambodia snubs Wills and Kate’s wedding

Categories: Cambodia King, Local News

King of Cambodia snubs Wills and Kate’s wedding

April 22, 2011 Leave a comment

No reply ... King Norodom SihamoniPRINCE William and his fiancée Kate have been sensationally snubbed by the
King of Cambodia.

King Norodom Sihamoni has not replied to the couple’s wedding invitation.

He is the only Royal out of dozens worldwide who has failed to respond.

Sihamoni, 57, a shaven-headed former ballet dancer and instructor, is not the
first Cambodian king to snub a British royal wedding. 

In 1963 his dad Sihanouk refused to attend Princess Alexandra’s wedding after
being told he would not get a guard of honour and could not stay at Windsor
Castle.

Sihamoni, who took the throne in 2004, lived under house arrest with his dad
in the 1970s while the Khmer Rouge regime murdered 1.5 million Cambodians.

Who’s who of the I do

By DUNCAN LARCOMBE, Royal Editor, ALEX PEAKE and ALEX WEST

IT’S the biggest social event for 30 years – and The Sun can today name
hundreds of the top guests due to attend next week’s glittering Royal
Wedding.

We’ve seen the secret list of the great and good lucky enough to have bagged
themselves an invitation to Friday’s grand event.

It includes 388 close friends and associates invited by groom Prince William,
28, and his bride-to-be Kate Middleton.

Among them are Posh and Becks, Rowan Atkinson, toff TV presenter Ben Fogle,
rugby supremo Sir Clive Woodward and Lock Stock director Guy Ritchie. 

Also listed are 254 relatives and friends of the Middleton family – including
Kate’s infamous uncle Gary Goldsmith and Reading FC chairman John Madejski.

The Queen and Prince Charles have drafted a list of 255 VIPs and aristocrats –
including 62 foreign Royals and heads of state. A further 1,000 guests,
including politicians, senior civil servants and foreign diplomats, received
invites via the Lord Chamberlain’s Office.

Many guests’ names are printed on this page. The list also reveals Kate, 29,
has invited her favourite fashion designer to Westminster Abbey – the
strongest hint yet to the identity of her mystery dress-maker. 

Getting weddy ... Prince William and Kate Middleton invited hundreds to their big day
Getting weddy … Prince William and Kate Middleton invited hundreds to their big day

Approval ... formal consent to wedding with signature of Queen, top right

Approval … formal consent to wedding with signature of Queen, top right

Brazilian-born Daniella Helayel, who has made clothes for Madonna and Sharon
Stone, created Kate’s engagement outfit.

Meanwhile the list confirms best man Prince Harry’s on-off girlfriend Chelsy
Davy HAS been invited, suggesting they have patched things up.

The Queen’s formal consent to the marriage was unveiled yesterday. Her Majesty
had to approve the wedding under a 1772 Act.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams wished William and Kate the “courage
and the clarity” to live out their marriage “in the full glare” of the
public eye.

Prince William and Catherine’s List

Viscount Althorp – William’s cousin. The son of Princess Diana’s
brother Earl Spencer.

Miss Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe – Stunning friend of William.

Miss Helen Asprey – The couple’s personal private secretary.

Mr and Mrs Rowan Atkinson – Comedian and Mr Bean actor, and his wife
Sunetra.

Mr Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and his wife, Hon. Sarah Louise – William and
Kate’s close pals.

Miss Annabel Ballin – Party planner is a friend of Kate’s.

Mr and Mrs David Beckham – Footballer and his pop star wife Victoria.

Guests ... Prince Harry's girlfriend Chelsy Davy, left, and David and Victoria Beckham

Guests … Prince Harry’s girlfriend Chelsy Davy, left, and David and Victoria Beckham

Ikon/X17online.com/Big

Doctor Holly Branson – Daughter of tycoon Sir Richard.

Mr and Mrs Fergus Boyd – William’s flatmate at St Andrews University.

Miss Jessica Craig – One of William’s former girlfriends.

Miss Chelsy Davy – Prince Harry’s girlfriend.

Mr David Dugmore and Mr Roger Dugmore – Safari park owners from
Botswana.

Mr Mark Dyer and his wife Amanda – One of Prince Harry’s best friends.

Mr Ben Fogle and wife Marina – Telly star and a friend of both William
and Kate.

The Lord and Lady Jane Fellowes – William’s aunt. The sister of
Princess Diana.


Quantcast


Alexander Fellowes – William’s cousin. The son of Jane.

Eleanor Fellowes – William’s cousin. The daughter of Jane.

Miss Rosie Farquhar – One of William’s former girlfriends. An actress.

Mr Rupert Finch – One of Kate’s former boyfriends.

Miss Alicia Fox-Pitt – One of Kate’s oldest friends.

Ms Daniella Helayel – Kate’s favourite fashion designer.

Miss Olivia Hunt – A former girlfriend of William.

Emilia d’Erlanger and David Jardine-Paterson – Emilia is Kate’s
old schoolpal. William and Kate went to couple’s wedding last year.

Mrs Tiggy Legge-Bourke and her husband Charles – William’s former
nanny.

Mr and Mrs James Lowther-Pinkerton – Part-time private secretary to
William and Harry.

Captain Jack Mann – The polo-playing son of British mercenary Simon
Mann.

Mr Willem Marx – One of Kate’s former boyfriends.

Lady Sarah McCorquodale and husband Neil – William’s aunt. Princess
Diana’s older sister.

Miss Emily McCorquodale – William’s cousin. Daughter of Sarah.

Mr George McCorquodale – William’s cousin.Son of Sarah.

Miss Celia McCorquodale – William’s cousin. Daughter of Sarah.

Mr Harry Meade and wife Rosie – Showjumper.

Mr and Mrs Edward Milbank – Old friends of William.

The Hon James Tollemache – Childhood friend of William.

Friends ... TV star Ben Fogle and wife Marina, left, and 'It Girl' Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

Friends … TV star Ben Fogle and wife Marina, left, and ‘It Girl’ Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

Alphapress

Miss Arabella Musgrave – William’s first girlfriend.

The Duke and Duchess of Northumberland – Land-owning peer.

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson – “It Girl” is the daughter of Prince Charles’s
pals Patti and Charles.

Mr Guy Pelly – Party organiser and close friend of William and Harry.

Mr Guy Ritchie – Director of films including Lock Stock and Two Smoking
Barrels.

The Earl Spencer – William’s uncle. Princess Diana’s brother.

Lady Kitty Spencer – William’s cousin. Earl Spencer’s
daughter.

Lady Amelia Spencer – William’s cousin. Kitty’s twin sister.

Lady Eliza Spencer – William’s cousin. The twins’ older sister.

Mr Thomas van Straubenzee – William’s closest friend.

Mr and Mrs Hugh van Cutsem – Another of William’s close friends.

Mr Edward van Cutsem and the Lady Tamara Grosvenor – Hugh’s brother.

Mr William van Cutsem – Third van Cutsem brother is also very close to
William.

Major and Mrs Nicholas van Cutsem – Fourth brother, a soldier, shares
military bond with William.

Sam Waley-Cohen – Gold Cup-winning jockey.

Sir Clive and Lady Woodward – World Cup-winning rugby coach.

The Queen’s List

CROWN Prince of Abu Dhabi.

THE Aga Khan.

QUEEN Sofia and Crown Prince Felipe of Spain.

CROWN Prince of Bahrain.

KING of Bhutan.

SULTAN of Brunei.

KING and Queen of Bulgaria.

QUEEN of Denmark.

KING and Queen of Greece.

SHEIK Al-Sabah of Kuwait.

PRINCE Seeiso of Lesotho.

Invite ... King Siaosi of Tonga, left, and the Aga Khan

Invite … King Siaosi of Tonga, left, and the Aga Khan

GRAND Duke of Luxembourg.

KING and Queen of Malaysia.

PRINCE Albert of Monaco.

PRINCESS Lalla Salma of Morocco. PRINCE Frisor of Holland.

KING and Queen of Norway.

EMIR of Qatar.

KING and Crown Princess of Romania.

PRINCE bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia.

KING of Swaziland.

PRINCESS Maha of Thailand.

KING Siaosi of Tonga.

CROWN Princess Victoria of Sweden.

CROWN Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia.

  • KING of Cambodia is yet to reply.

    The Political List

    PRIME MINISTER David Cameron and wife Samantha.

    DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER Nick Clegg and wife Miriam.

    CHANCELLOR George Osborne and wife Frances.

    OPPOSITION LEADER Ed Miliband and fiancée Justine Thornton.

    FOREIGN SECRETARY William Hague and wife Ffion.

    HOME SECRETARY Theresa May and husband Philip.

    David Cameron and his wife Samantha and Ed Miliband (L) arrives with his partner Justine Thornton

    Date … PM David Cameron and wife Samantha, left, and Ed Miliband and fiancée Justine Thornton

    CULTURE SECRETARY Jeremy Hunt and wife Lucia.

    CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF General Sir David Richards.

    CHIEF OF NAVAL STAFF Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope.

    CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF General Sir Peter Wall.

    CHIEF OF AIR STAFF Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton.

    VICE CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF General Sir Nicholas Houghton.

    Middletons’ List

    The Hon Brian Alexander – MD of The Mustique Company.

    Mr Gregory Allen – yoga teacher.

    Mr Alexander Bridport – banker.

    Mr Richard Benyon – Tory MP.

    Mr Tim Billington – horse breeder.

    Ms Jeanette Cadet – head of rentals, The Mustique Company.

    Mr Basil Charles – Mustique bar owner.

    Mr John de Blocq van Kuffeler – chairman of Provident Financial.

    Mr Martin Fidler – butcher.

    Mr John Haley – landlord of Middleton family’s local.

    Mr & Mrs Anthony Henman – parents of tennis player Tim.

    Mr Timothy Hirst – B&B owner.

    On the list ... bar boss Basil Charles, left, and Kate's uncle Gary Goldsmith

    On the list … bar boss Basil Charles, left, and Kate’s uncle Gary Goldsmith

    Mr Gary Goldsmith – Kate’s uncle.

    Mr John Madejski – Reading FC.

    Mr & Mrs Torquil Montague-Johnstone – the Middletons’ neighbours.

    Ms Philippa Naylor – designer.

    Mr Ryan Naylor – postman.

    Mr Roger Pritchard – MD, The Mustique Company.

    Mr & Mrs Chan Shingadia – shopkeepers in Middletons’ village.

    Source: The Sun

    Categories: Cambodia King, Local News

    Cambodia’s king heads to China for medical exam

    April 19, 2011 Leave a comment
    PHNOM PENH – CAMBODIA’S royal palace says King Norodom Sihamoni has
    gone to China for a medical checkup, but no details about his health
    have been given.

    Cambodia’s royal palace says King Norodom
    Sihamoni has gone to China for a medical checkup, but no details about
    his health have been given. — PHOTO: AP

    The palace says in a brief
    statement that the constitutional monarch flew to Beijing on Monday.
    The statement does not say how long he’ll stay or whether there’s a
    particular reason for his checkup.
    Keo Puth
    Puth Reasmey, a brother-in-law of the king, told reporters at the
    airport that the king was advised by his Chinese doctors to have a
    medical checkup every six months.
    The
    57-year-old King Sihamoni assumed the throne in October 2004 after his
    father, King Norodom Sihanouk, abruptly abdicated due to ill health. —
    AP
    Categories: Cambodia King, Local News

    Cambodian ex-king returns from China

    April 7, 2011 Leave a comment
    PHNOM PENH — Cambodia’s ailing former king Norodom Sihanouk returned
    home on Wednesday from Beijing where he spent nine months receiving
    medical treatment, officials said.

    Cambodia’s former king Norodom Sihanouk (left)
    and his wife former queen Norodom Monineath wave from their car upon
    their arrival at Phnom Penh international airport. — PHOTO: AFP

    Sihanouk and his wife were
    given a red-carpet welcome by family members, Prime Minister Hun Sen
    and other senior government officials upon arrival at Phnom Penh
    airport.
    A smiling Sihanouk, 88, pressed his hands together and
    kissed them in a traditional greeting to well-wishers before getting
    into a car that whisked him off to the royal palace.
    One of
    Asia’s longest-serving monarchs, the revered king abruptly quit the
    throne in October 2004 in favour of his son, citing old age and health
    problems.
    Prince Sisowath Chivan Monirak, deputy president of the
    Cambodian senate, told reporters Sihanouk had kept his promise “to come
    back for Khmer New Year” and that the ex-monarch’s doctors “had no
    problem” with his return to Cambodia.
    The new year festivities, which start on April 14 and last for three days, are a popular time for families to get together.
    Sihanouk has suffered from a number of ailments, including cancer, diabetes and hypertension.
    He
    has received the bulk of his treatment in China and several Chinese
    doctors have accompanied him back to Phnom Penh, according to Sisowath
    Chivan Monirak.
    The prince said he did not know how long Sihanouk planned to stay in the country this time.
    “For the Cambodian people, the longer he stays, the better,” he said.
    Despite
    abdicating, Sihanouk remains a prominent figure in Cambodia and
    regularly uses his website to comment on matters of state.
    Sihanouk
    said in 2009 that he had lived too long and wished to die as soon as
    possible, according to a personal handwritten note on his website.
    “Lengthy longevity bears on me like an unbearable weight,” he said.
    Source: AFP
    Categories: Cambodia King, Local News