Cambodia’s Norodom Ranariddh: The man who would not be king

Death of the academic prince who battled political headwinds for decades.

Cambodian royalty has a long and deep involvement in politics, and Prince Norodom Ranariddh once told a foreign correspondent that the constitution “does not make any distinction between the members of the royal family and ordinary citizens.”

“If the people of Cambodia do not want the royal family in politics, I think the best way to make that known is to organize a referendum,” Ranariddh said in 1997.

Ranariddh, 77, who once appeared to many foreigners the most obvious successor to his father, the late King Sihanouk, died on Nov. 28 in a care home in the south of France.

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