On October 15, 2012 – Cambodia’s King Father Norodom Sihanouk passed away. He died of a heart attack at the age of 89.
A few days later, tens of thousands of mourners from all over Cambodia lined the road from the airport to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh to welcome the return of his body. The park in front of the palace became a public site of grieving.
Following tradition, and with due regard for an auspicious date, the funeral ceremony was set for February 1, 2013. An elaborate procession displaying various aspects of Khmer culture took the late King Father from the palace to the Veal Meru crematorium site. Thousands of people lined the streets of the capital to watch.
To mark the first anniversary of the King Father’s passing, a $1.2m bronze statue was inaugurated on October 11, 2013.
The death of Norodom Sihanouk marks the end of an era for Cambodia. After claiming victory in contested elections held in July, Prime Minister Hun Sen maintains a firm grip on the country, presiding over a de-facto one-party state.