Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the country to honor the late Princess Norodom Buppha Devi with a national day of mourning on Wednesday, November 20. The Princess died Monday afternoon at a hospital in Bangkok at the age of 76. The cause of death was not disclosed.
“On 20 November, 2019, we must fly the flag at half-mast to mourn for the passing of Princess Buppha Devi to share condolences to our Queen Mother and respect for the princess’s contributions to Khmer arts throughout the 1960s. We regret for such the huge loss of our nation and people,” the premier said on Monday, as reported by Fresh News Asia.
Princess Norodom Buppha Devi was born January 8, 1943, the eldest daughter of King Father Norodom Sihanouk. She was the half-sister of King Norodom Sihamoni.
An avid promoter of traditional Apsara dance, she is credited with reviving the traditional art in her adulthood after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime and helping the danceform be inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
She herself was a renowned dancer of the ballet, having begun her training at an early age and joining the Royal Ballet of Cambodia at 16. She was a prima ballerina at the age of 18 and performed for visiting dignitaries, including France’s President Charles de Gaulle during his famed visit in 1966.
She served as the Minister of Culture and Fine Arts from 1999 to 2004 and was directing ballet troupes who performed abroad up until last year.
The General Secretariat of the Constitutional Council announced in a statement that her body will be kept for a Buddhist’s funeral in Phnom Penh’s Botumvatey Pagoda.