A classical ballet dancer by training, he is a political unknown.
But Norodom Sihamoni is being crowned the next King of Cambodia. Three days of festivities are underway to celebrate the 51-year-old’s accession to the throne. And today a traditional Buddhist blessing ceremony took place, ahead of his coronation. It follows the shock abdication of Sihamoni’s father, because of ill health. One of the world’s most enduring Cold War leaders, King Norodom Sihanouk played a key role in the proceedings, choreographing the dawn ritual with the consummate skill of one who has trodden the international stage for more than 60 years. His nimble-footed son, meanwhile, who has lived much of his life abroad, will need all his strength, agility and grace as he swaps the cafes and conservatories of Paris for the role of king in the war-scarred southeast Asian nation.