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Sihanouk's body returns to Phnom Penh

Sihanouk's body returns to Phnom Penh


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The plane carrying the body of late King Father Norodom Sihanouk touched down this afternoon.

The body made its way to the Royal Palace in a procession attended by more than 100,000 mourners.

Even hours before the Boeing 747 carrying the late King Father arrived from Beijing, tens of thousands began lining the streets of Phnom Penh to watch the procession as it snaked its way from the airport late this afternoon.

At the edge of Phnom Penh International Airport, hundreds of young men scaled the walls, propping themselves at the top of the fences leading to the tarmac in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the plane.

Finally, at 2:40pm, the Air China flight arrived.

Officials garbed in white formed an honor guard to meet the Cambodian and Chinese delegation accompanying the late retired king's body.

Escorting his mother down the stairs, a somber King Norodom Sihamoni was greeted by scores of monks, ministers and diplomats.

Flanked by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the King and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk made their way from the plane to a convoy of more than a dozen vehicles.

The casket, draped in blue cloth, was then lowered from the plane, met by monks and carried to the motorcade by a palace honor guard.

As the royal funerary vehicle drove down Russian Boulevard on its way to the palace, mourners dropped to their knees.

"I'm feeling very regretful today," said 20-year-old Mam Oudom, a university student who came with 15 of his friends to see the procession.

"This was our king of Cambodia and I could not concentrate on studying today. I had to join the parade of people."

To contact the reporter on this story: Shane Worrell at [email protected]

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