Tens of thousands of mourners lined the streets of the Cambodian capital to pay their last respects to revered former king Norodom Sihanouk on his final journey home. AFP photo
An honour guard carries the coffin of the late former king Norodom Sihanouk on to a decorated hearse at Phnom Penh International Airport. Source: AFP
Cambodians welcome home Sihanouk
Grand convoy carries coffin to royal palace
Tens of thousands of mourners lined the streets of the Cambodian capital to pay their last respects to revered former king Norodom Sihanouk on his final journey home.
The body of the ex-monarch, who steered his country through turbulent decades of war, genocide and finally peace, returned on a special flight from Beijing, where he died of a heart attack on Monday aged 89.
The convoy carrying the body of King Norodom Sihanouk passes by the monument of independence in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. AFP
Draped with flowers and a royal blue flag, his coffin was borne through the streets of Phnom Penh on a golden float shaped like a mythological bird with robed monks seated in front and behind.
Cambodia's current King Norodom Sihamoni is the eldest son of King Sihanouk and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, right. He ascended the throne in 2004 when his father stepped down. AFP
Sihanouk's widow Queen Monique, son King Norodom Sihamoni and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen accompanied the casket in a slow-moving convoy.
Cambodians of all ages – wearing white shirts and black ribbons – clasped their hands together in prayer as the procession passed. Many wept at the sight of Sihanouk's coffin passing en route to the royal palace.
"It's a sad day for the Cambodian people. The King-Father loved his children very much," said Theng Nary, 67, tears rolling down her cheeks.
The government estimated that more than 100,000 people turned out to witness the homecoming of the charismatic former monarch, who remained popular even after standing down in favour of his son in 2004, citing old age and ill health.
His body will lie in state at the palace for three months before an elaborate funeral for the towering political figure, who abdicated twice, served variously as premier and head of state and spent years in exile.
The homecoming marked the start of a week-long mourning period during which the government has ordered radio and television stations not to broadcast joyful programs.
It has also cancelled the festivities for next month's Water Festival, an annual celebration that usually draws millions of visitors to the capital to enjoy dragon boat racing, fireworks and concerts.
Cambodian Buddhist monks sit among the thousand of mourners lining the streets of Phnom Penh awaiting the convoy transporting their former king. AFP
Mourners have flocked to the palace in recent days to pay tribute to Sihanouk with lotus flowers, candles and incense sticks, many of them sobbing as they knelt in prayer.
One of the thousands of mourners today in Phnom Penh as the body of former King Norodom Sihanouk was brought home. AFP
Before its departure from China, the country he described as his "second homeland", Sihanouk's coffin was transported through Beijing in a bus decorated with yellow ribbons and flowers, as flags flew at half-mast on Tiananmen Square in his honour.
coffin – a box in which a dead body is buried or cremated โลงศพ
hearse – a long vehicle used for carrying the coffin (= the box for the dead body) at a funeral รถศพ
grand – admired because it is very good, very large or shows great skill, very big ซึ่งน่าประทับใจ ใหญ่โต
palace – the official home of a king, queen, president, etc, a large impressive house พระราชวัง, ตำหนัก, ปราสาท
mourner – someone who expresses sadness at an event for a dead person ผู้ไว้ทุกข์,ผู้ไว้อาลัย,ผู้โศกเศร้า
capital – the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from เมืองหลวง
pay last respects – to go to someone’s funeral or to go to where a dead body is kept to honour the dead person ถวายความเคารพเป็นครั้งสุดท้าย
revered – highly respected and admired ซึ่งแสดงความเคารพนับถือ
monarch – a king or queen กษัตริย์ หรือราชินี
steer – to control the direction in which something or someone moves นำทาง
turbulent – changing often or difficult to control ผันผวน
decade – a period of ten years ทศวรรษ
genocide – the murder of large numbers of people belonging to a particular race or group of people การฆ่าล้างเผ่าพันธุ์
convoy – a group of vehicles travelling together ขบวนรถ
monument – a statue or building that is built to honour a special person or event อนุสาวรีย์ หรืออนุสรณ์สถาน
independence – freedom from control by another country or organisation ความเป็นอิสระ
drape – to put something such as cloth or a piece of clothing loosely over something ประดับด้วยผ้าคลุม
borne – carried ถือ หรือนำไป)
float – a large heavily decorated vehicle ขบวนรถแห่
myth – a story from ancient times, especially one that was told to explain natural events or to describe the early history of a people; this type of story นิทานปรัมปรา, ตำนาน
mythological – connected with ancient myths (stories from ancient times) เกี่ยวกับตำนาน, เกี่ยวกับนิยายโบราณ
widow – a woman whose husband has died and who has not married again แม่ม่าย
accompany – to go with someone ไปกับ,ไปด้วยกัน,ไปเป็นเพื่อน
casket – a box for a dead body พระโกศ
clasp – to hold tightly จับไว้แน่น
procession – a line of people or vehicles moving in a slow and formal way as part of an event ขบวน(ราช) รถในพิธี
weep (past form wept)– to cry because you feel unhappy or have some other strong emotion ร้องไห้
en route – going to; bound for มุ่งหน้าไป
tear – a drop of liquid that comes out of your eye when you cry น้ำตา
cheeks – the soft parts of your face below your eye and between your mouth and ear แก้ม
estimate – to say what you think an amount or value is or will be, either by using available information or by guessing คาดคะเน
turn out – to be present at an event เข้าร่วม
witness – to see something happen – มองเห็น, เป็นพยาน
charismatic - having a strong personal quality that makes other people like them and be attracted to them ที่มีเสน่ห์ดึงดูด
popular – a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
citing – mentioning as a reason ให้ อ้างอิงเหตุผล
lie in state – putting the dead body of an important person in a public place so that people can see and honour it before it is buried นำศพมาให้ประชาชนแสดงความเสียใจและคารวะเป็นครั้งสุดท้ายก่อนทำพิธีทางศาสนา
elaborate – carefully prepared and organised ทำด้วยความละเอียด
funeral – a ceremony that takes place after someone dies, usually including a religious ceremony งานศพ
towering – extremely strong, powerful or impressive ที่สำคัญที่สุด, น่าประทับใจ
figure – someone who is important in some way บุคคลสำคัญ
abdicate – to give up the position of being king or queen สละราชสมบัติ
state – government รัฐบาล
exile – a situation in which you live in a foreign country because you feel you cannot live in your own country, usually for political reasons การลี้ภัย การถูกขับออกนอกประเทศ
current – of the present time ปัจจุบัน
ascend the throne – to become a king or queen
broadcast – to send out a programme on television or radio กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว
joyful – great happiness ที่เปี่ยมไปด้วยความสุข
festivities – the activities that are organised to celebrate a special event การเฉลิมฉลอง
annual – happening once a year ประจำปี
draw – to attract or interest somebody ดึงดูดความสนใจ
firework – an object that explodes when you light it and produces coloured lights and loud noise – ดอกไม้ไฟ, ดอกไม้เพลิง, พลุ
flock – to go somewhere in large numbers; to gather together in large numbers แห่กันไป
pay tribute – to say or do something that shows you respect and admire someone a lot แสดงความชื่นชมหรือขอบคุณสำหรับ
incense – a substance that produces a pleasant smell when you burn it, used particularly in religious ceremonies ธูป,กำยาน,เครื่องหอม
sob – to cry noisily while taking short breaths ร้องโอดครวญ
knelt (past form of kneel) – put one or both knees on the ground คุกเข่า
departure – leaving การออกจาก
at half-mast – (of a flag) flown at the middle of the mast (pole) as a sign of respect for a person who has just died การลดธงครึ่งเสา