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Queen Mother Monineath Sihanouk (center L) and King Norodom Sihamoni (center R) pray inside a crematorium where the coffin with the remains of the late Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk is placed at in Phnom Penh, Feb 3, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
PHNOM PENH - Tens of thousands of mourners have flocked to the cremation site of the former King of Cambodia Norodom Sihanouk next to the Royal Palace on Monday morning to pay their last respects ahead of the cremation ceremony which will be held this Monday evening.
According to the schedule, Sihanouk's wife Queen Mother Norodom Monineath and his son King Norodom Sihamoni will light the funeral flame at the cremation site at 6:00 pm local time.
A number of foreign leaders have arrived in Cambodia to attend the ceremony. Among them are Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Vice-President of the Philippines Jejomar C. Binay, and Japan's Prince Akishino.
Sihanouk died naturally and peacefully at the age of 90 in China's capital of Beijing on Oct 15, last year.
The late monarch suffered from various forms of cancer, diabetes and hypertension and had been treated by Chinese doctors in Beijing for years before his death.
Born on Oct 31, 1922, Sihanouk ruled Cambodia from 1941 to 1955 and again from 1993 until his voluntary abdication on Oct 7, 2004 in favor of his son, the current King Norodom Sihamoni.