I only met Prince Norodom Sihanouk once, and that was in 1981 in Jakarta, Indonesia when he was making a State visit. I was a TV cameraman and journalist covering his visit.
As a Southeast Asian historian I have studied a lot about his life and career. He was a strange person in many ways. He was egocentric and behaved erratically. He was a person who believed in "neutrality" and for that reason he was disliked by the US. His government pre-1970 fought against the Khmer Rouge sending the leaders underground from around 1965. When he was overthrown in the coup of March 1970 by the pro-US Lon Nol government, Sihanouk turned to the Khmer Rouge to assist in the fight against the Lon Nol government.
A number of his children and other members of his family were killed by the Khmer Rouge.
After the Vietnamese supported Heng Samrin government invaded and took Cambodia in January 1979, his son, Prince Norodom Rannaridh, ran one of the anti-Vietnamese/anti Heng Samrin forces, the FUNCINPEC, fighting in conjunction with, but not alongside, the Khmer Rouge and one of the other factions, the Khmer Serei, a US-backed group.
Sihanouk retook the position of King in 1993 following the UN led elections.
I know very little about King Norodom Sihamoni except that he was born on 14 May 1953 and became King when Sihanouk abdicated on 14 October 2004 and that he spent most of his life outside of Cambodia studying in Fine Arts. He lived in France just before returing to Cambodia as King.
A former TV news cameraman and journalist with over 30 years in the industry in Australia and Southeast Asia.
Currently a SE Asian historian.