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It wasn’t always so. Sihamoni’s flamboyant and charismatic father, Norodom Sihanouk, bestrode the country like a colossus for decades. Many regarded him as a god-king, and thousands flocked to the plaza fronting the Royal Palace for fireworks and other lavish celebrations on his birthday. Sihanouk abruptly abdicated in 2004 following confrontations with Hun Sen best pointe shoes online uk sale. Son Chhay and others say Sihamoni accepted the crown under pressure from parents hoping to ensure the survival of the monarchy..
Seven years later, “sad, lonely, abandoned” are words sympathetic Cambodians often use when describing Sihamoni. The 58-year-old monarch spends much of each day signing documents, receiving guests and handling other routine business, then retires mostly to dine alone and read, says Prince Sisowath Thomico, Sihanouk’s private secretary and an adviser to his son best pointe shoes online uk sale. Unlike his father, who had six wives and numerous lovers, Sihamoni is a lifelong bachelor and unlikely to leave an heir..
His birthday passed recently with little notice. Within the palace’s crenelated walls, among the graceful pavilions and gilt spires, there was no sign of activity best pointe shoes online uk sale. Outside, knots of people went about their normal evening pastimes at the grassy, riverfront square, feeding pigeons, lounging on reed mats and snacking on lotus seeds and noodles. “The king is a good, gentle man, a symbol of Cambodia. But he has one problem: no power. He only stays inside the palace. On television the leaders bow down before him but behind his back there is no respect,” said Sin Chhay, a young civil servant at the plaza. “You could say that Hun Sen is the real king of Cambodia.”..
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith insists the king is involved in social and religious affairs and judicial reviews, receives a monthly report from Hun Sen on government activities and makes recommendations on them best pointe shoes online uk sale. “The current King Sihamoni has played an important role in restoring the … monarchy. As a king and symbol of national unity he maintains strict neutrality and doesn’t become involved in any political activities,” he said. “To say that he’s a prisoner in the palace would be inappropriate.”..
Sihamoni, a former ballet dancer and cultural ambassador, spent 25 years in Czechoslovakia and France. That European past, Western diplomats say, is his great escape best pointe shoes online uk sale. He returns regularly to what is now the Czech Republic, calling it “my second homeland,” and has said his time in Prague “belongs to the happiest in my life.” Fluent in the language — which reportedly vexes his keepers trying to eavesdrop on conversations with Czech visitors — he avidly reads Czech theater reviews and savors DVDs of ballets and operas..