Royal Arms

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Royal Arms


The arms and achievement of the kings of Cambodia were introduced in the time of king Norodom I.

It consists of the emblem of state, augmented with two multifolded umbrellas, symbolizing the rank of the king.

In the time of siamese suzereinty the vice-royal emblem seems to have been a socalled Hamza bird or brahminy duck (Tadoma ferruginae - Anatidae) belonging to the buddhist symbolic repertory and believed to have golden feathers, and being able to fly great distances. It supposedly lives in large flocks. However, a goose may be meant also.

It probably may be qualified to be a badge symbolizing the rank of a civil official, in this case the badge of the governor of Cambodia, 2nd King of Siam. [1] Another possibility is that it symbolized the Khmer people.


Coins from the reign of King Duang (1847-‘60)

Showing a hamza or brahminy duck.


A royal achievement replaced this badge of rank. It is said to occur for the first time in 1862, the second year of the reign of King Norodom I and one year before the establishment of the Protectorate.[2] As such it still reflects the suzereinty of Rama IV Mongkut of Siam.

An early picture of such an achievement is given by a German flag book, depicting the flag of the 2nd King of Siam, the Front Palace Pinklao (†1866) [3]

It has the form of a flag:


Flag: Azure, a pile of two ritual goblets with a sword per fess on top, crested with the exalted symbol Om, standing on a table and between two fivefolded umbrellas, all Or.

A crown was added in 1880 and a ribbon in 1904. After 1948 the full achievement was on the Royal Standard.

This achievement was, until 1948, largely restricted to the Royal standard but by way of exception it was also surrounded by a garland:



Smaller royal achievement on the Victory Gate, the entrance to the royal palace in Phnom Penh, about 1920.


The larger royal achievement consists of the achievement of State, between two fivefolded umbrellas supported by the elephant Kuchea Sey (symbol of authority and courage) and the lion Reachea Sey (symbol of power and force) standing on a ribbon with the motto ‘The King of the Kingdom of Cambodia’.

Until the proclamation of the independent kingdom, the achievement comprised also the royal cypher of the reigning monarch


Achievement of King Norodom I (1860-1904) on the marble floor of a pavillion in the Royal Palace compound.

The shield hatched blue, the mantle lined ermine, the royal cypher ‘N’ below the Achievement of State and the motto PREACHAU. GRÜNO . CAMPUCHEN (King of the Kingdom of Cambodia)  on a ribbon hatched blue in latin script.


Achievement of King Sisowath (1904-’27)

 showing the royal cypher ‘S’ and the motto The King, The Religion, The Nation in Khmer script.


In this reconstruction the shield of the Achievement of State is omitted and replaced by a largely  hypothetical blue silk lining. The achievement is in golden relief above the entrance of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.


Achievement of King Norodom Sihanouk (1941-’55)  on the facade of a pavillion in the palace compound

The achievement on a red background, the shield omitted, the royal cypher ‘NS’ and the motto in Khmer script.


The achievement of King Norodom Suramarit and Queen Sisowath Monivong (1955-’60).

The achievement on a red background, the shield and the royal cypher omitted.


The present achievement of King Norodom Sihanouk (1993-2004) and King Norodom Sihamoni (2004 - present), as given on internet.

The blue shield reintroduced, the mantle lined white, the fringes omitted and replaced by a golden bordure, the ribbon blue with the motto in white Khmer script.


Æ See illustration in the head of this essay.


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© Hubert de Vries 2012-03-06


[1] Maybe borrowed from China where a (mandarin-) duck was the badge of rank of a civil official of the 7th rank (!). A goose is the rank badge of a civil official of the 4th rank, and that would match better the position of the siamese ruler in Cambodia.

[2] By Roberto Breschi.

[3] Gritzner, Maximilian: Flaggen und Banner. Landesfarben aller Zivilisierten Staaten der Erde. Nürnberg, 1878.