King Denies Sisowath Rivalry

King Norodom Sihanouk used his 15th letter contradicting the Prince Norodom Ranariddh biography “Warrior Prince” to deny he has any bad feelings towards the Sisowaths, the other major branch of the royal family.

“Here again is an odious slander against me!” the King wrote of a passage in the book by Bang­kok-based author Harish Mehta. “My mother, whom I loved, venerated and admired infinitely, was a ‘Sisowath.’ I am 50 percent ‘Siso­wath’ myself. My maternal grandfather, his Majesty Sisowath Moni­vong, loved me more than any of his other little children. And I elevated to the rank of Royal Altesse two sons of Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak.

“You see, therefore, that I have honored much the ‘Sisowaths.’

“If, at my death or following my abdication, a ‘Sisowath’ is elected King of Cambodia by the Crown Advisers, it will be as good as a Nor­odom. [In fact, contrary to what is claimed in the book in question, the ‘Norodoms’ and the ‘Sisowaths’ don’t form two rival clans. They form a single family.]” On the subject of whether his mother or Queen Norodom Mon­i­neath could ever receive some of the trappings of the monarchy, the King wrote: “Ac­cording to a very old tradition of our ancient kingdom, Cambodia could and can endow either a reigning queen…or a ‘simple’ queen married to the king….

“During her reign, and until she was chased in a cowardly manner from her Royal palace by the put­schists [in 1970], my mother re­ceived, at each throne room ceremony, the homage and allegiance of all dig­nitaries.”

The King also denied a report printed in the book and in a 1996 Cambo­dia Daily article that he once “named Rana­riddh my successor” and later retracted it.

According to the King, his ex­act words were that Prince Ran­ariddh was an appropriate candidate, but not the only appropriate candidate.


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