Last modified: 14 August 2020

The country

The state is known as Preah Réachéanachâkr Kâmpuchea in its national language. This means the Kingdom of Cambodia. The country is being reigned by the Varman dynasty.

The Khmer Empire ruled the area, which is present-day Cambodia, from the 9th to the 13th century. The area was influenced by China and India. After wars with neighbouring kingdoms, Lovek became the capital of the Khmer Empire in the 15th century. Wars with the Thai and Vietnamese continued and in 1594 Lovek was conquered. In the next three centuries the Khmer Empire was a vassal state of the Thai and Vietnamese kings, although there were periods of relative independence. In the 19th century Thailand installed King Norodom. In 1863 he sought the protection of France, and in 1867 a treaty was signed. The French renounced suzerainty over Cambodia, and gained control over the provinces Battambang and Siem Reap, that officially became part of Thailand, until they were returned to Cambodia in 1906. Cambodia was a French protectorate as part of the colony of French Indochina. It was occupied by Japan from 1941 to 1945.

Cambodia became independent on November 9th, 1953, and became a constitutional monarchy under King Norodom Sihanouk, who had become a King upon the death of his maternal grandfather in 1941. He abdicated in 1955 to become prime minister of Cambodia. His father Norodom Suramarit became King of Cambodia until his death in 1960. In 1960 Norodom Sihanouk became head of state again, but received the title of prince rather than king. A change of the constitution in 1963 made him head of state for life. He was exiled during the Khmer Republic between 1970 and 1975. In 1976 he was forced out of office by the Khmer Rouge again and fled to China and North Korea. Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978 and only left the country in 1989. Norodom Sihanouk returned to Cambodia on November 14th, 1991. In 1993 he once again became King of Cambodia. Because of health reasons he abdicated in 2004. For a few days the President of the Senate assumed the title of acting Head of State, until the throne council met and appointed the new king. King Norodom Sihamoni lived most of his life abroad.


The current sovereign is Brhat Karuna Brhat Pada Samdach Brhat Paramanatha Naradharma Simhamuni, King of Cambodia, known as Norodom Sihamoni. He was born at the Khemerin Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 14 May 1953.

His father elevated him to the rank of Sdech Krom Khun (Great Prince) on February 1st, 1994.

He is the son of King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia (1922-2012) and his wife Paule-Monique Izzi (1936- ), who is known as Norodom Monineath Sihanouk.


Norodom Sihamoni succeeded his father after his abdication on 7 October 2004. Norodom Sihamoni was chosen as the new King by the Throne Council on 14 October 2004.

Norodom Sihamoni was installed as a King in a ceremony at the Preah Tineang Tevea Vinicchay, Khemerin Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 29 October 2004.

Other details

The King’s motto is Nation, Religion, King.

The King is a Buddhist.

Marriage and descendants

King Norodom Sihamoni is unmarried.

Postal address

Royal Cabinet of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni
Khemarin Palace
Phnom Penh


Cambodia is a Kingdom with a King who shall rule according to the Constitution and to the principles of liberal democracy and pluralism. The King shall reign, but not govern. He will be head of state for life, and is inviolable. He is a symbol of unity and eternity of the nation. The King has no power to appoint an heir to the throne. If the King can’t perform his normal duties as head of state due to a serious illness the President of the Assembly shall act as regent. In case of the death of the King, the President of the Assembly shall take over the responsibility as head of state, as regent. Within a period of seven days after the death of the King, the new King shall be chosen by the Royal Council of the Throne, which shall consist of the President of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister, Samdech the Chiefs of the Orders of Mohanikay and Thammayut, the First and Second Vice-Presidents of the Assembly. The King has to be a male member of the royal family of Cambodia. He must at least be 30 years old, and descending from the blood line of King Ang Duong II, King Norodom or King Sisowath. The Queen of Cambodia doesn’t have political powers, and is not to assume the role of head of state.


The King of Cambodia is styled His Majesty. At his coronation or accession to the throne the King of Cambodia adopts a unique series of reign titles. Often included are Brhat Pada, Samdach Brhat, Varman, Rajadhiraja, Parama, and Adipati. The titles might be altered during a reign. The wife of the reigning King will have the title Queen of Cambodia. The styles and titles of the royal family are quite complex. For a more extensive explanation see Royal Ark.

The Kings of Cambodia

Norodom Sihanouk (1922-2012)1941/53-1955
Norodom Suramarit (1896-1960)1955-1960
Norodom Sihanouk (1922-2012)1993-2004
Norodom Sihamoni (1953- )2004-