Portrait: Le Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong

Article de Monsieur Christophe Vachaudez paru dans le numéro de Mai 2017 du magazine belge “L’Eventail”









PDF_portrait gotha_MAI_2017

July 1964: HRH Princess Norodom Buppha Devi’s arrival in Paris with the Royal Ballet of Cambodia related in Italian Magazine, Oggi

Oggi 2 luglio 1964 n27 pagina 80


Paris. Princess Buppha Devi (her name means Goddess of Flowers), daughter of the “Premier” of Cambodia Norodom Sihanouk and First Dancer of the Royal Ballet of Phnom Penh stepped down from the plane ( in the centre) , followed by her fellow dancers. Princess Buppha Devi came to Paris to perform at the Opera for De Gaulle and her father, Prince Sihanouk in official visit in France. The “Goddess of Flowers” is twenty one years old and only 1,40 meter high. One year ago, she married in second wedding, Bruno Forsinetti, 21, son of the Ambassador of Italy in Cambodia.

in Oggi, 2nd July 1964

Monaco, 9th March 2017: Vernissage of the Photo Exhibition of French Photographer Alain Hanel : The Royal Ballet of Cambodia at Printemps des Arts 2013

Copyright Alain Hanel 2017: Reproduction prohibited except authorisation of the author

In March 2013, the Royal Ballet of Cambodia was invited by the Printemps des Arts to perform in Monaco. Her Royal Highness Princess Norodom Buppha Devi led the delegation, seconded by His Royal Highness Prince Sisowath Tesso. Their Serene Hignesses Prince Albert and Princess Charlene attended the Première and Her Royal Highness Princess Caroline of Hanovre attended the Gala Evening.

31st Mars 2013: Their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco, welcoming Her Royal Highness Princess Samdech Reach Botrei Preah Ream Norodom Buppha Devi, in company of His Royal Highness Prince Sisowath Tesso and of His Highness Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong

On this occasion, my dear friend, French photographer Alain Hanel, as the official photographer of the Printemps des Arts shooted marvellous pictures of the dancers on stage and he decided to set up an exhibition of his works in Monaco.

In company of HRH Princess Antonella d’Orléans-Bourbon and of my friend, French photograher Alain Hanel. Photo: Eric Dervaux

His son Julien Pierre Hanel gave the magic touch to the photos by re-working graphically with the utmost modern techniques to render the glimpses of fantasy and glitters, characteristical of the Cambodia Royal Ballet.

From left to right: Mr. Hubert Dupont-Sonneville, Mrs. Marie Madeleine Liesse, Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong, Mr. Alain Hanel, Mrs. Angela de Bona, Mr. Julien Pierre Hanel  Photo: Eric Dervaux

This initiative was definitely supported by the famous brand of French supermarkets, Carrefour and their Foundation for Arts. Mrs. Marie Madeleine Liesse and her Responsible for Marketing, Mr. Hubert Dupont-Sonneville were enthusiastic promoters and this is how we ended on 9th March 2017 enjoying this exclusive venue in one of the main Shopping Mall of Monaco.

The Apsaras will continue their enchanting dances on the walls of Fontvieille until 7th April 2017.

Copyright Alain Hanel 2017: Reproduction prohibited except Authorisation of the Author




Honouring the Memory of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk Varman, Preah Barom Rattanak Kaud, Father of Khmer Independence

On Tuesday 17th January 2017, before entering the Preah Reach Damnak Kantha Bopha to be received by Her Majesty Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, Marquis Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini and I were granted the honour to offer a jasmine garland in front of the Statue of our Late King-Father in the gardens of the Royal Palace.


Royal Audience granted by Her Majesty Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk to Marquis Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini and His Highness Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong

On Tuesday 17th January 2017, in Phnom Penh,  Her Majesty Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk granted me and Marquis Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini the honour of a Royal Audience in Preah Reach Damnak Kantha Bopha at 10.30 a.m.


Our Beloved Queen-Mother had honoured us with beautiful Royal gifts, hand-made silk ties, books and music CDs of His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk.


We brought from Italy a very special perfume and I kneeled down to explain the different fragrances used.


Before leaving, Her Majesty granted us the honour of a last photography, together with Her Royal Highness Princess Samdech Reach Botrey Preah Anoch Norodom Arunrasmy, renewing Her wishes for the success of Our projects.




Royal Audience granted by His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni to Marquis Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini and His Highness Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong

On Monday 16th January 2017, in Phnom Penh,  His Majesty Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath King Norodom Sihamoni granted me and Marquis Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini the honour of a Royal Audience in Khemarin Palace at 11.00 a.m.

King Sihamoni had honoured us with beautiful Royal gifts, silver hand-made traditional boxes and books.


Then, His Majesty asked us about our activities in the field of Opera and Art and we obliged  by raising to His Majesty’s High Attention our projects in the next future.


Before leaving, His Majesty granted us the honour of a last photography altogether, renewing His wishes for the success of Our projects.


Our Royal Audience reported on the Official Website of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia

An Italian Doctor in Cambodia: Professor Emidio Grisostomi Travaglini in Battambang in 1999


In a very interesting book, Professor Emidio Grisostomi Travaglini, uncle of my friend Marquess Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, is telling about his experience in Cambodia in Battambang during 1999 Christmas. Here are his words in Italian and I will try to provide a suitable English translation.



Christmas 1999 in Cambodia:

On 28th March 2000, Professor Grisostomi is telling us about his experience in Cambodia:

“During last Christmas holiday (1999), instead of my usual mountain holiday, I accepted the proposal for a collaboration with a hospital in Battambang in Cambodia, set up by Emergency NGO which is taking care of war victims, especially the ones wounded by landmines.

Still nowadays, years after the end of the war, the consequences of the conflicts are vivid and devastating. More than 90% of the victims are civilians: women and elders, young and adults are wounded while cultivating their fields or feeding their cattle, but above all, children, tragically caught while playing or helping their parents.

The estimation is that at least 2000 victims per month are wounded by the 100000000 landmines disseminated  and hidden in the Cambodian territory. The landmine clearance, a longterm work, which requests the precison of high-trained professionals, is slow, expensive and extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, in many zones, one must bitterly admit that this landmine clearance is done by poor ignorant people, who are obliged for the necessity of life to sacrifice one leg, one arm, etc… thus eliminating some of these criminal landmines.

To help these persons, it has become necessary to open specialised medical centres with physicians, nurses, physiotherapists and orthopedic technicians. Volunteers were called to support these initiatives.




Once again, Italy has shown attention and sensitiveness in organising and sending help through Emergency NGO,  which already intervened in Rwanda during the genocide periods, in Kurdistan, Afghanistan and Cambodia, where I took part personally as orthopedic surgeon at Battambang hospital, in a structure which bears the name of the journalist Ilaria Alpi. The patients of this hospital were mainly victims of landmines which were located on the border with Thailand. Only in 1999, more than 1000 of them were killed and tens of thousands of persons remained handicaped and unable to earn a living for themselves hence.

Moreover, the situation was dramatically worsened by nature and the frequent rains, which on the one hand, make possible the necessary rice growing but on the other hand, when they are very heavy, the water is transporting and hiding again and again landmines so to transform ricefields in very dangerous insidious traps for local people, who are already suffering disease such as malaria, polio, aids, etc…  The country is also suffering the lack of medical staff and structures, totally cancelled by the Khmer Rouge and the only ones available are very expensive and normal people cannot afford to be cured in the right way.


In these circumstances, the  Battambang Hospital is significantly reducing the number of landmine victims and at the same time, giving a very good preparation to surgeons and medical staff to be at the right level to deal with problematics such as poliomyelite disease ill persons, quite numerous, due to the cancellation of the vaccinations during the dictatorship of the Khmer Rouge and people presenting congenital malformations as well as bone infections. The director was Italian Lady Anna Marchesi, ICRC, who was very experienced in post-conflict situations.

The medical team at my arrival was made of one general surgeon from Kurdistan, one anesthesist from Mongolia, one physiotherapist from England, two Italian nurses and one French. We were also helped by three young Cambodian doctors and numerous local nurses. It is with them that I spent my Christmas holiday. I would have wanted to transmit all my medical skills and experience in those (unfortunately) too short days. I must admit that the hospital, although it was particularly furnished for emergency situations, allows me to cure different unexpected cases, which I already had to face in Africa for instance. Especially when the patients arrived with wounds at faces, arms and above all, eyes.



For me, as well, although I was used to emergency operations, to see children and young people wounded in many parts of their bodies remains an indescriptible shock. The last patient I operated before coming back to Italy, a young farmer who lost both hands and was almost blind, has been lika a desperate SOS to stop all these tragedies.

I experienced once again that being useful is always satisfactory, even more for the one who gives that for the one who receives. I would like, however, to recall and acknowledge the collaboration, which is unfortunately always insufficient, of various organisations, such as the Italian Rotary Club, who helped the Battambang Hospital to refurbish one surgery room; or the funding given by the Swiss Rotary Club of an ICRC prothesis centre.

To conclude, I cannot not invite you to support with determination and concrete facts the campaign for the cancellation of landmines, who reduce military and above all, innocent civilians to the state of human ruins. Emergency has demonstrated to be an efficient initiative, little but significant instrument; this is why it deserves unconditional support to be more known and helped to grow up.”