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Norodom Monineath Biography

Her Royal Highness Queen Norodom Monineath Sihanouk (Khmer: នរោត្ដម មុនីនាថ សីហនុ; born Paule Monique Izzi) is the queen mother of Cambodia. She was queen consort of Cambodia from 1993 to 2004, as the wife of King Norodom Sihanouk. She is the widow of King-Father Norodom Sihanouk, whom she married in 1955 as the "secondary consort" (Sihanouk married his official wife, Norodom Thavet Norleak, as the "first lady" also in 1955, before being married to Monineath). After Sihanouk and Norleak divorced in 1968, Monineath became the official spouse of the King. Monineath and King Sihanouk had two children: Norodom Sihamoni and Norodom Narindrapong; both were born before their parents married. Her official, full title is "Samdech Preah Mahaksatrey Norodom Monineath Sihanouk". The Queen is also called "Preah Voreakreach Meada Cheat Khmer". Her birthday on 18 June is an official public holiday in Cambodia.

  Norodom Soma
King Sihanouk and Queen Monineath

On 22 February 1992, she was elevated by the King to the rank of Samdech Preah Cheayea. On 24 September 1993, she was raised to the rank of Samdech Preah Mohèsey Norodom Monineath of Cambodia. On 2 January 1996, the King elevated her to the rank of Samdech Preah Reach Akka Mohèsey Norodom Monineath. Sihanouk reportedly suggested to change the constitution to make it possible for her to be a regent and succeed him on the throne, but ultimately, this did not come about, and he chose to abdicate in favor of their son instead. Monineath speaks Khmer, French, and English. She is currently the Cambodian Red Cross Honorary President. In 2010 she was nominated for Time Person of the Year by Documentation Center of Cambodia Director Youk Chhang who praised the Queen Mother as an "embodiment of resilience, dignity and courage."