Sisowath Monivong Kossamak Nearirath Serey
Vathana (Khmer: ព្រះមហាក្សត្រិយានី
9 April 1904 – 27 April 1975) was the
Queen consort of
1955 to 1960 by marriage to King Norodom Suramarit.
was born Princess of
Cambodia as the daughter of King Sisowath
Monivong of Cambodia. After her husband's death, she became the symbol
and representative of the monarchy while her son assumed his duties as
Head of State.
2.1 Foreign honour
Queen Kossamak on a palanquin in the inner court, behind is the
Sisowath Kosamak married her father's cousin
Norodom Suramarit in
1920. Upon the death of her father Monivong in 1941, Sihanouk, her son
and Monivong's grandson, was selected as the new king. In the 1940s,
she famously choreographed the apsara dance by training her first
grand daughter, Princess Norodom Bopha Devi, to become the first
In 1955, Sihanouk abdicated in favor of his father. Queen Kossamak
enjoyed great respect and popularity: despite neither a monarch nor
politically influential, she was said to exert great moral authority
over the khmers, was described as generous to the poor and devoting
herself to the welfare of the nation. As queen, she received
foreign guests and hosted state functions, were the royal ballet often
performed. Like her daughter-in-law, she was accused of promoting
proteges to civil offices. She was not on good terms with her
daughter-in-law, princess Monique, which led to advisories blaming
Monique for the sometime strained relationship between Kossamak and
Sihanouk, and for Sihanouk alleged initial hesitance to abdicate as it
would make his mother queen.
Following Suramarit's death in 1960,
Norodom Sihanouk again became
head of state (although he did not formally regain the title of king
until after other periods in 1993). There were suggestions of changing
the constitution to allow for Kossamak to succeed as queen regnant and
monarch in her own name, but the royal council was unwilling to allow
it: her son Sihanouk stated that only God knew his reasons to why he
did no wish his mother to succeed to the throne.
Queen Kossamak continued in her representational role during the reign
of her son as premier during the 1960s. She also upheld her great
popularity. In 1965, a serious conflict arouse, when an American paper
published slander accusing her of greed and of managing brothels. This
incident led to the attack of the American embassy in
Phnom Penh and
Sihanouk cutting diplomatic relations with the USA.
After the coup of 1970, Kossamak was forced to leave the royal palace
by the new government and held in house arrest in a villa in the
suburb. She was allowed to join her son in
China for health
reasons in 1973. She died in
China two years later.
Malaysia : Honorary Recipient of the Order of the Crown of
the Realm (1964)
^ a b c d e f Jacobsen, Trudy (2008). Lost Goddesses: The Denial of
Female Power in Cambodian History. NIAS Press.
^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat
Persekutuan Tahun 1964" (PDF).
"Cambodian Apsara Dance". Web of Cambodia.
Cambodia Heads of State". Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership.
House of Sisowath
Born: 1904 Died: 27 April 1975
Queen consort of Cambodia
3 March 1955 – 3 April 1960