(Photo: Xinhua/Reuters)

(Photo: Xinhua/Reuters)

(Photo: Xinhua/Reuters)

(Xinhua photo)


     PHNOM PENH, Oct. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- The three-day royal coronation of Cambodia's new king began here Thursday with traditional religious rituals being held inside the golden-roofed Royal Palacewhere King Norodom Sihamoni will be crowned Friday evening.

    Prince Sihamoni was chosen as Cambodia's new monarch by the nine-member Throne Council on Oct. 14, following his father King Norodom Sihanouk abdicated a week earlier in Beijing for fragile health.

    Sihamoni is the second king for the Cambodian nation in over 60years.

    According to Royal Palace Minister Kong Sam Ol, as the retired king Sihanouk asked the coronation ceremony to be held in a modestway, no foreign heads of states, special envoys and royal familieswere invited to the event, nor traditional mass celebrations and parade planned.

    He said, King Sihamoni will be crowned only in the presence of about 40 royal family members, hundreds of government officials and lawmakers and dozens of foreign diplomats in Phnom Penh.

    Thursday's royal coronation includes traditional Buddhist and Brahmanic rites and ceremonies designed to bring divine blessings upon the new monarch in the Royal Palace.

    King Sihamoni will be officially crowned and seated in the throne Friday evening to be followed by a state banquet.

    According to a statement from the country's celebration committee, King Sihamoni is expected to announce royal pardons to scores of prisoners at his coronation.

    The capital city Phnom Penh is in a festive mood with national flags festooned along the city's leading boulevards and portraits of the new monarch and banners wearing congratulation messages canbe seen on government, school, factory and hotel buildings.

    To let the whole country join in the jubilation, people will enjoy one day off on Oct. 29 and fireworks displays were arranged for three evenings along with song and dancing performance at public locations in Phnom Penh.

    The 51-year-old unmarried king's coronation ceremony will be broadcast live on radio and TV across the country.

    Cambodia's monarchy dates back as early as to the world-famous Angkor Period around the 10th century. The current Constitution, adopted in 1993, restricts the sphere of action of the monarchy which is non-hereditary. The monarchy reigns, but does not rule, nor does the king choose his successor.

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