Born on October 31, 1922 Norodom Sihanouk was the King of Cambodia intermittently from 1941 to 2004. He has held so many position in government the Guinness Book of World Records gives him the honor as the politician who has served in the greatest variety of political offices. Sihanouk served as king twice, sovereign prince twice, once as president, prime minister twice as well as positions in governments in exile. He was the puppet head of the government for the Khmer Rouge in 1975 -1976.
Sihanouk was the key for Cambodia to obtain their independence form the French. He was exiled in 1953 due to threats on his life by the French and only returned when Cambodia won their independence later in 1953. In 1955 he was given the post of Prime Minister after abdicating in favor of his father. He then established the People' Socialist Community. In 1960 when Sihanouk's father died he won the general election as head of state and was given the title of Prince. In 1963 he changed the constitution to make him the head of state for life.
In 1964 Sihanouk and the People's Republic of China plus North Vietnam formed a pack to allow North Vietnamese headquarters in eastern Cambodia and to permit military supplies from into North Vietnam. He made speeches calling for the triumph of communism in Southeast Asia and was in favor of Maoist ideas. In 1966-67 Sihanouk instigated political repressions and many political allies were left out in the cold. His friendship with China collapsed and Cambodian Civil War erupted.
1970 the Khmer Republic was formed and the U.S. recognized their legitimacy. Sihanouk fled to Beijing and began working with the Khmer Rouge to overthrow the current Cambodian government. Sihanouk became the symbolic head of state for the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot. However he was held hostage and was forced out of office and into retirement. When Cambodia was invaded in 1978 by Vietnam, Sihanouk did not support the new government and demanded Cambodia's seat in the UN be left vacant. He joined forces with the Khmer Rouge again to throw Hun Sen out of power.
Sihanouk abdicated in 2004 due to lymphoma, diabetes and hypertension. His last public appearance in Phnom Penh was on October 30, 12011 to celebrate his 89th birthday. Sihanouk died on October 15, 2012 sixteen days before his 90th birthday. He left behind several wives and concubines and at least fourteen children.