Norodom Soma Biography
Soma Serei Norodom (Khmer: សោម៉ា សិរី នរោត្តម) is the Princess of Cambodia, who was born on October 29, 1969 in Cambodia. Princess Soma was born in Phnom Penh in 1969, six years before the fall of the capital to the Khmer Rouge. In 1975, her father brought her and her family to resettle in Long Beach, California where she was raised. After graduating from Chaffey High School in Ontario, Soma attended CSU Fresno earning a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications in 1993 with an emphasis in news and public affairs. She proceeded to obtain a master’s degree in mass communication from CSUF in 1996. She married Everett Balber in Fresno, but was divorced in 2005. After a series of jobs in media and marketing, Soma decided to return to Cambodia in 2010 to care for her father whose health had begun to decline.
Her father, His Excellency Prince Norodom Vatvani, a third cousin of both current king Norodom Sihamoni and former Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, was a lieutenant-colonel in the Khmer Air Force during the Cambodian Civil War assigned as the commandant of Battambang Air Force Base. In 1971 he was promoted to full colonel and made Cambodian Representative to US Forces in Vietnam. Subsequently, he was stationed as the Military Liaison Officer to the USAF at Udorn in Thailand until the 1975 fall of Phnom Penh when he fled with his family to the Prince. Upon his return to Cambodia in 1993, he was made major-general and then lieutenant-general and given the position of Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Air Force, a post which he held until the 1997 Cambodian Coup which resulted in Hun Sen consolidating his power and expelling Ranariddh and his allies. Her father died in Phnom Penh in 2012.
Princess Soma’s mother, Norodom Sosony, was Vatvani’s second wife whom he married in 1969. Soma is directly descended from Norodom I, the founder of the House of Norodom. She is his great-great-great granddaughter as well as the third cousin (once removed) of the current king, Norodom Sihamoni, and fourth cousin of former MP Norodom Rattana Devi. Soma has one younger brother, three younger sisters and an older half brother from her father’s first marriage. All of her siblings remain in the Prince.