Cambodia has begun cremation ceremony preparations for the late former king Norodom Sihanouk, whose body will lie in state at the Royal Palace until February, royal officials said Friday.
The cremation procession, to be held the first week of February, will stretch 800 meters, carrying Sihanouk’s body from the Royal Palace, past the Independence Monument, and back around to the royal grounds north of the palace.
There, the body will remain in state for another three days of ceremony, prayers and mourning before it is finally cremated.
Kong Sam Ol, head of the Royal Cabinet, said the royal family has not determined whether Sihanouk’s widow, Queen Mother Norodom Monineath, or his son, King Norodom Sihamoni, will carry the flame for the cremation.
Cambodia has also commissioned a 7-meter bronze statue of the king, which will be placed east of Independence Monument.
Sihanouk is revered among many Cambodians for leading the country through its independence from France, in 1954.