Flags in Phnom Penh were flying at half mast, people were wearing black ribbons, and Buddhist monks took part in mass-prayers at the Royal Palace. Cambodia’s former King Norodom Sihanouk died in October 2012 and the nation has been in mourning since. His embalmed body had been lying in state at the Royal Palace. The King Norodom Sihanouk funeral was a week-long event, which came to an end yesterday when the late King Father’s remains were taken from the cremation site to their final resting place in the Royal Palace.

funeral procession

The Cambodian government organised a large procession for the beloved King Father during which his sarcophagus was driven through the streets of Phnom Penh. The King Norodom Sihanouk funeral was a big event. 2 million people from all over the country lined the streets to catch a final glimpse of the King Father and pay their last respects. The procession took about 5 hours in total. Statesmen, civil servants, army officials, indigenous communities, scouts, religious groups and the King Father’s family all took part.

When the coffin passed people dressed in black and white gently weeped, prayed and bowed. After the procession the coffin was bought to the mausoleum, where Sihanouk’s coffin would stay for another 3 days before the cremation. Thousands of people queued up to say their final goodbyes before the cremation. Some ashes were scattered on the Mekong river and others in the grounds of the Royal Palace near those of his daughter, Kunthea Buppha, who died aged three.

The coffin
The late King Father’s wife and his son King Norodom Sihamoni taking part in procession at mausoleum
People queuing at mausoleum

It was a privilege being able to take part in the King Sihanouk Norodom funeral and even after having lived here for over a year, it helped me understand the country a little more.

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About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

8 Thoughts on “A nation is mourning – attending the King Norodom Sihanouk funeral

  1. Despite the sad occasion, what a wonderful opportunity to witness an event like this in another country. I find it so interesting to see a country so unified in their love for a leader.

  2. Thanks Andrea. I think his death bought back many sad memories in a lot of people, which is why it was so nice to witness them being all unified.

  3. What an interesting experience. Your photos are lovely.

  4. Thanks Arianwen! Still trying to learn how to use my new DSLR. Yes, it was very special to be part of it and I am really glad I went.

  5. i like this blog this has good information

  6. A sad occasion. but a beautiful send off, I would have loved to see it in person. Thanks for sharing this!
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