14.05.

1953: Norodom Sihamoni: The King of Cambodia who is a Ballet Master and Speaks Czech

1953: Norodom Sihamoni: The King of Cambodia who is a Ballet Master and Speaks Czech
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 14 May 1953
  • King Norodom Sihamoni was educated in Europe, and he is even a ballet instructor. He spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Prague.

The current Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni was born on this day in 1953. He inherited the throne from his father Norodom Sihanouk in 2004.

Before Norodom became a king, he was a delegate to the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. It is interesting to note that Norodom Sihamoni was educated in Europe, and he is even a ballet instructor.

Sihamoni’s name is derived from a combination of his parents’ names (King Sihanouk and Queen Monineath). His mother, Queen Norodom Monineath, was actually named Paula Monique Izzi (a French name).

Namely, she was the daughter of a French banker Jean-François Izzi, who was of Corsican, French and Italian origin. The mother of Queen Moninetah, i.e. grandmother of the present king, was from Cambodia.

Sihamoni spent most of his life outside Cambodia. As a child he was sent to Prague, where he received his education in the field of music and ballet. It is interesting to note that he learned the Czech language. Namely, Norodom Sihamoni is the only monarch in the world, who speaks Czech.

He lived in Paris during the 1980s, where he taught ballet. Later, as mentioned, he became a delegate of Cambodia to UNESCO. He visited Prague, the city of his childhood and youth, many times.

In 2004 Norodom Sihamoni succeeded his father, who had abdicated. When Norodom became king, he was 52 years old. It is interesting to note that he became a honorary citizen of Prague in 2006.

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