King Norodom Sihanouk used his 16th letter rebutting the Prince Norodom Ranariddh biography “Warrior Prince” to deny he ever tried to put Norodom Sihamoni, the oldest son from the King’s marriage with Queen Norodom Monineath, in line for the throne.
Author Harish Mehta suggests the King and Queen were grooming Sihamoni for the throne by taking him along on royal visits to Indonesia and Malaysia.
“Sihamoni was on vacation,” he wrote. “I took him with me on these trips with no political calculations. Sihamoni is not the only child of mine who has traveled with me to friendly countries…. At no time did I publicly announce [my intention to] have Sihamoni succeed me in place of my son Samdech Ranariddh. I [want to] add that Sihamoni himself has always said that he was not a candidate to the throne and that he was a supporter of his older brother, Samdech Ranariddh.”
Sihamoni is 48 years old and works with UN Educational Scientific Cultural Organization in France.
The King also took issue with a passage in the book that said he continued to be “marginalized, sidelined and neglected by the coalition government.”
“On this subject, I admit that I was totally unaware, before reading page 176 [of the book], that I have been and continue to be ‘marginalized’ and ‘pushed aside’ by the Funcinpec-CPP coalition,” he wrote. “In all cases, since my return to Cambodia in 1991 and since my re-election as King in 1993, the nation, the people of Cambodia…Funcinpec and CPP themselves, have never done anything to make me feel placed on the fringe, set apart [or] neglected.
“Should I thank Mr Mehta for revealing to me that I was and am marginalized, sidelined and neglected by the Funcinpec-CPP coalition?”
The book, not yet available in Cambodian bookstores, is based on interviews Prince Ranariddh gave to Mehta in 1997 while the prince was in exile in Bangkok.