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Sihanouk Remains Collected, Dispersed

Cambodia's royal family travel by boat to scatter the ashes of Cambodia's former King Norodom Sihanouk near the confluence of the four rivers in Phnom Penh, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, in Phnom Penh Cambodia. In addition some of Sihanouk's ashes will be put in an urn which, according to his wishes, will be placed on the grounds of the Royal Palace near those of his favorite daughter, Kunthea Buppha, who died at the age of 3.
Funeral ceremonies for late king Norodom Sihanouk continued in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, as his widow and son led the retrieval of his remains in an elaborate ceremony.

Following that ceremony, which was led by King Norodom Sihamoni and Sihanouk’s widow, Norodom Monineath, a procession carried a portion of Sihanouk’s remains to the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, a place considered supernaturally powerful by many Cambodians.

The remains were walked onto a ceremonial boat by a delegation led by Norodom Yuvaneath, another of Sihanouk’s sons, which floated into the river before the remains were cast into the water.

Another portion of Sihanouk’s remains will be kept in a golden urn at the Royal Palace.

Later Tuesday, food and other offerings were made to the ancestors at the same site, where they were put out on boats that floated along the river.

In an interview with VOA Khmer, Prince Norodom Ranarridh, another son of the late king, said the future of the royal family remains secure, despite the loss of its patriarch.

“I’m not worried about the future of the royal family,” he said.

Meanwhile, the French ambassador to Cambodia, Sergre Mostura, told VOA Khmer that while France regrets the passing of Sihanouk, who died in Beijing Oct. 15, 2012, the country remains dedicated to strengthening ties with Cambodia.

“It’s crucial to keep this relationship,” he said.

Tens of thousands of Cambodians have come to Phnom Penh to mourn the former king, a revered figure by many whose death has seen an outpouring of grief by young and old Cambodians alike.

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