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Last Updated: Monday, 25 October, 2004, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
Life in pictures: Norodom Sihanouk
former King Norodom Sihanouk, 2001 file photo
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Eccentric, unpredictable but dearly loved by his people, 81-year-old Norodom Sihanouk has given up Cambodia's throne. On Friday he is due to see his son crowned in his place.
A cyclist rides past a poster showing former King Norodom Sihanouk commanding a military operation during the colonial era
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First crowned in 1941, Sihanouk has been at the forefront of his nation's turbulent history for more than 60 years.
Sihanouk and his mother help an Indian delegation bring sacred Buddhist relics through the streets amid a procession of monks,  24/11/52
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When he came to the throne Cambodia was still a French colony. France wanted Sihanouk's role to be merely symbolic, but he soon became an active campaigner for independence.
Sihanouk helps the Royal Palace XI beat the Cambodian army in a football match, 1/1/63
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As well as his duties as king, the young Sihanouk found time to indulge in numerous hobbies - sports, music and amateur film-making.
Norodom Sihanouk with his wife Monique (later called Monineath) in 1970
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He was also known for his philandering, although he finally settled down with sixth wife Monique, an Italian-Cambodian he married in 1952.
Sihanouk waves as he attends an Independence Day celebration in Phnom Penh, 1962
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In 1955 Sihanouk abdicated to strengthen his political hand, becoming prime minister - and increasingly intolerant of dissent.
Sihanouk makes a speech at Orly National Airport in Paris, on March 13, 1970.
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During the Vietnam War, Sihanouk increasingly spoke out against the US. While on a foreign trip in 1970, just days after this photo was taken, he was ousted from power in a coup.
Prince Sihanouk (right) embraces Khieu Samphan, a key Khmer Rouge figure, in 1973
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Driven into exile, Sihanouk initially allied himself with the Khmer Rouge movement. This now infamous picture shows him with Khieu Samphan [left], a key Khmer Rouge leader.
skulls of those killed by the Khmer Rouge
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It was a pact he came to regret. When the Khmer Rouge took power, Cambodia descended into genocide.
former King Norodom Sihanouk,  1991 file photo
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In the years after the Khmer Rouge regime was defeated, Sihanouk was again exiled. But he returned in 1991 after a UN-brokered peace deal, and was later re-crowned.
Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk, left, introduces his son and successor, King Norodom Sihamoni, right, on Wednesday 20 October, 2004.
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In September 2004, he shocked Cambodia by announcing his abdication. His son Norodom Sihamoni took over as king, but Sihanouk is still likely to wield a significant influence.

Profile: Norodom Sihanouk
14 Oct 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Cambodia
14 Oct 04 |  Country profiles

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