King and Prince Exchange Open Reconciliation Letters

Prince Norodom Ranariddh and his father King Norodom Sihanouk exchanged letters of apology and forgiveness Wednes­day over “Warrior Prince,” the recently-published biography of the prince.

“I don’t have anything to say besides please forgive me, Papa, for my crudeness, which mostly came out unwillingly, as Papa has forgiven me in the past,” the prince said in the opening of his four-page letter.

When he sat for 18 hours of interviews in November of 1997 with the book’s author, Bangkok-based journalist Harish Mehta, his mind and ideas had “an inestimable darkness and bitterness,” the prince wrote. At the time, he had just fled to Bangkok after factional fighting had removed him as prime minister.

Despite his admission of bitterness, the prince said Mehta often exaggerated and made “the words he quoted as my words mostly different from the truth.

“What we all cannot accept is that this writing is very unjust for the King, who is considered in national and international opinion as a hero. I would like to inform Papa that the writer of this book took my words in the interviews to serve his own purpose,” the prince wrote.

The same day, the King and Queen wrote an open reply, forgiving the prince and thanking him for writing.

“Papa and Mama want to say we are not disappointed or frustrated with you,” the King wrote.

Meanwhile, the King on Wednes­day issued a seventh statement on the biography, this time stating he had nothing to do with a military action taken against Samlot district peasants in 1967.

The book says “Sihanouk’s own estimate of the dead peasants varied from ten thousand to less than one hundred. What really happened? Was Sihanouk to blame?”

Sihanouk said he was not aware of any peasant revolt at the time, but rather that his military and government officials reported fighting against Vietnamese and Cambodian communists.

 

 

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