The Zulu royal family in South Africa has been thrown into mourning following the death of its monarch, Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, who passed on just a month after she became regent with the death of her husband, King Goodwill Zwelithini.
Queen Mantfombi, 65, became interim leader of the country’s largest ethnic group in March following the death of her husband of over 40 years.
The Queen’s prime minister, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who made the announcement late Thursday, said her death took the family by surprise and they are “utterly bereft”.
“It is with the deepest shock and distress that the Royal Family announces the unexpected passing of Her Majesty Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, Regent of the Zulu Nation,” Buthelezi, said in a statement.
Queen Mantfombi was admitted to hospital a week ago after suffering an unspecified illness, South African media reported.
She had been appointed to the role on 24 March, after her 72-year-old husband died in hospital from diabetes-related complications.
Queen MaDlamini Zulu held the highest status among the king’s wives, as she came from royalty.
She was the sister of Eswatini’s King Mswati III, Africa’s only absolute monarch.
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