The Late King-Father Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk’s Body arrived at around noon at the cremation site at the open square of Veal Preah Merhu, in front of the National Museum, next to the Royal Palace.
The Royal Body was moved from the Royal Palace to Veal Preah Merhu this morning in a 2,000-meter long procession that marched on 6,000 meters long. The funeral procession is composed of 11 sections and the royal coffin is in the 9th one. The procession passed through Techo Yat’s and Techo Meas’ statues, Wat Phnom, Preah Sisowath High School, and the Independence Monument where 90 Buddhist monks were waiting to chant and pray for the soul of King-Father at each stopover.
The procession was welcomed at Veal Preah Merhu by His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, and Her Majesty Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk.
The 101 rounds of 105 mm-artillery were fired for the second time when the late King-Father’s Body was moved into the crematorium. The first firing was made at around 08:30 am to mark the departure of the procession.
The week-long Royal Funeral Ceremony for late King-Father Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk began this morning with sadness and tearfulness of the royal families, Samdech Akka Moha Thamma Pothisal Chea Sim, President of the Senate, Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, other high-ranking officials, monks, students and thousands of civil people.
The King-Father’s Body will be kept at Veal Preah Merhu for another three days before being cremated on Feb. 4. During this period, foreign guests, people, especially the prisoners who will be released to mark the Royal Cremation Ceremony, are allowed to pay respects to the late King-Father.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said foreign leaders from 16 countries will attend the upcoming Royal Cremation Ceremony. They are H.E. Mr. Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, French Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Vietnamese Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Thai Prime Minister H.E. Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, Lao Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Thongsing Thammavong, Vice President of the Philippines H.E. Mr. Jejomar C. Binay, His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino of Japan, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance H.E. Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Brunei Darussalam’s Minister of Development Honorable Pehin Dato Suyoi Haji Osman, Indonesia’s Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs H.E. Air Chief Marshall Djoko Suyanto, Myanmar’s Senior Union Minister of the President Office H.E. Mr. Tin Naing Thein, the Republic of Korea’s Presidential Chief of Staff H.E. Mr. Ha Kum-Loul, Australia’s Lieutenant General H.E. Mr. John Sanderson, India’s Minister of Human Resources Development H.E. Dr. M. Mangapati Pallam Raju, Malaysia’s Senator and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department H.E. Dr. Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, and Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Honorable Deepak Obhrai.
According to the schedule, on the 5th day of the Royal Funeral Ceremony, there will be the collection of Royal Relics, while the 6th and 7th days will be for the procession of bringing Royal Relics to Chaktomuk River, in front of the Royal Palace, and to Preah Keo Morokat Pagoda, located in the Royal Palace’s compound.
Cambodia has recently announced the 2nd official mourning period for the late King-Father to be held from Feb. 1-7. During the mourning period, the national flags must be flying at 1/3 below the top of the mast across the country, while entertainment activities including TV and radio entertainment programs have to be suspended.
King-Father Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk passed away on Oct. 15, 2012 at 01:20 am (local time in Phnom Penh) in Beijing, China at the age of 90 from natural causes.