Queen Mantfombi Dlamini passed away unexpectedly last Thursday. Born a Swazi princess, the daughter of King Sobhuza II and sister of King Mswati III, she married King Goodwill Zwelithini in 1973 and and was queen consort of the Zulu Nation from 1977 to 2021. When her husband died in March, she served as queen regnant.
We have not admired the intricately beaded headdresses worn by Zulu queens here before- they really are striking.
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Our condolences are extended to the Zulu royal family.
Special thank you to reader Jake for sharing this story.
Images from Getty and social as indicated
What a beautiful Queen, and so very sad for the Zulu Royal Family and nation. Thank you for shining a light on her so I can learn more about her. Her headdresses are exquisite.
Thank you for this post and for a lesson about a royal house I knew nothing about. A sad loss, and so young too.
Beautiful work on these headdresses, and a beautiful Queen.
Such beautiful work. Sadly it is hard to tell if this is beadwork, needlework or weaving, or some combination of these or otherwise. I love the variety of shapes. The detail on all the women’s apparel is amazing too.
The headpiece is stunning. According Wikipedia, the designs and colors in Zulu beadwork convey a lot for those who know how to decode it. This certainly looks like it’s meant for a queen.
What craftsmanship! I’d love to learn more about how they’re made.
A small quibble: I believe Queen Mantfombi Dlamini was queen regent after her husband’s passing, not queen regnant.
Queen regnant means she is queen in her own right (not just because she is married to the king). Elizabeth II in the UK is a queen regnant.
Queen regent would be if she were acting on behalf of a child who was the actual monarch, e.g. until the child comes of age.
In this instance, Queen Mantfombi was not queen in her own right, but “acting monarch” until such time as she appointed a successor to her late husband the king – believed to most likely be their son Prince Misuzulu Zulu.
Thank you for this fascinating insight! The headdresses are so elaborate. Also interesting to read about Queen Mantfombi’s life.
Those headdresses are real works of art. Thanks for this post!