Retired King Norodom Sihanouk on Monday tempered comments posted on his Web site over the weekend that the Sisowath branch of the royal family is planning to usurp the throne and replace King Norodom Sihamoni.
In his initial message over the weekend, the retired King wrote that persons of the “Sisowath Clan” were concocting a “plan” to dethrone the “very popular and very ‘clean’ King Norodom Sihamoni.”
He added that his son, King Norodom Sihamoni, had told him many times that if a decision was made to replace him or to “republicanize” Cambodia, he would in no way oppose it but only ask for two weeks notice.
The message about the Sisowath designs on the throne made the headlines in some newspapers Monday. But one report, which quoted a senior government official speculating on the veracity of the information and the possible source drew a quick response from the retired King.
Writing in the margin of the newspaper article, Norodom Sihanouk said that the source of the information “was a ‘serious’ person [of Khmer race].”
He added, however, that the “[plot] story was amusing and in no way grave-of the Sisowaths.”
The newspaper stories have created a stir in the “Sisowath Clan.”
“I was shocked,” Prince Sisowath Thomico said, adding that he had contacted numerous princes and princesses of the Sisowath branch and that none had heard of a plot.
“Sisowath brothers and sisters always support King Norodom Sihamoni and the King Father…no one has such a plan,” Prince Sisowath Sirirath said.
Since the royal family’s Norodom and Sisowath branches descend from a common ancestor—King Ang Duong who died in 1860—he said, “we cannot be divided.”
“I think there could be someone trying to split the Norodom and Sisowath blood,” by reporting this tale to Norodom Sihanouk, Prince Thomico said.
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said that according to the Constitution, only the Throne Council can appoint the king.
The individual who reported this possible plot to Norodom Sihanouk was trying to create problems, he said. “If I were the King, I would ask the King Father who was the informer,” he added.