The late Prince Norodom Ranariddh will be cremated on December 8, following the arrival of his body on a charter flight from France on December 5. His body will be embalmed and then lie in state for four days at his former residence in the capital’s Daun Penh district prior to cremation.
Prince Ranariddh, the son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and half-brother of King Norodom Sihamoni, passed away on November 28 in France at the age of 77.
His body was received at the Phnom Penh International Airport by Minister of the Royal Palace Kong Sam Ol, a contingent of Buddhist monks and members of his FUNCINPEC party, among others.
According to the plans outlined by the committee that was recently created by Prime Minister Hun Sen to organise the funeral, the cremation on December 8 will take place in front of Wat Botum near the Royal Palace.
Hun Sen on December 3 issued an edict designating December 8 as a national day of mourning for Prince Ranariddh and requiring that all ministries, schools, hospitals, military bases, pagodas and the general public fly the Cambodian flag at half-mast.
“[Prince Ranariddh] was of great merit to our nation, religion and the monarchy,” Hun Sen said in the proclamation, adding that all national and private radio and television stations must broadcast appropriately somber programming on December 8 rather than typical entertainment fare.
According to the funeral rites described by the committee, Prince Ranariddh’s body will be marched in a funeral procession from the residence to the crematorium at the Veal Preah Meru Square in front of Wat Botum and then cremated on the morning of December 8.
On that morning, after the monks perform a religious ceremony, there will be a funeral rite at 6am with the Prince’s ex-wife Princess Marie, and his sons, daughters and other relatives present.
At 7am, the funeral procession will begin carrying his body from the residence to Wat Botum and the cremation ceremony is scheduled to begin at 8:30am.
Prince Ranariddh was born on January 2, 1944. Before his passing, he was president of the royalist FUNCINPEC political party, which he founded, and also served as chairman of the Supreme Advisory Council to the King.
Before entering into politics during the UN transition period, Prince Ranariddh lived in France where he graduated from the University of Provence and had an active career as an academic researcher and law professor there.
In his early political career, the Prince served as Cambodia’s First Prime Minister from 1993 to 1997, following the Kingdom’s first election organised by the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia, and then president of the National Assembly from 1998 to 2006 before largely retiring from taking an active role in politics in his later years.