King Sihamoni Back Ahead of Birthday Celebrations

King Norodom Sihamoni returned Monday morning from a nearly two-week visit to France, just days ahead of his birthday on Wednesday.

Upon his arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport, the King was greeted by a group including Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly President Heng Samrin. King Sihamoni’s birthday will be celebrated with fireworks, according to a statement signed by Chhin Ketana, secretary general of the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals.

The King typically marks his birthday by handing out donations to poor villagers. Oum Daravuth, an adviser to the royal family, said he did not yet have a birthday schedule.

Before becoming King, then-Prince Sihamoni resided in France for several decades and served as a professor of classical dance at the Marius Petipa Conservatory in Paris during the 1980s. He is also a Grand Officer of France’s Legion of Honor.

On his latest trip to France, the King attended an event at the Academie des inscriptions et belles lettres—the elite French humanities society to which King Sihamoni was inducted in 2010.

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