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Princess Sara, The Dowager Duchess of Harar has died

It has been announced that Princess Sara, the Dowager Duchess of Harar passed away in Addis Ababa aged ninety last weekend. She was born Sarah Gizaw on the 1st January 1929. Her father was Gizaw Abera, a civil governor from Axum in Tigray, Ethiopia, and was educated at the Royal Infirmary Nursing School in Edinburgh, Scotland. She received the title Princess when she married Prince Makonnen, the second son of the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie.

Princess Sara had five children, Paul Wossen Seged Makonnen, Mikael Makonnen, Tefferi Makonnen, Beede Mariam Makonnen and the late Dawit Makonnen. Sadly, she was widowed in 1957, when her husband, the Duke, was killed in a car crash in rural Ethiopia. However, she remained at court and was considered one of the most beautiful women at the Ethiopian Court. On the death of her mother-in-law, Empress Menen, she shared official hostess duties with Princess Tenagnework, the eldest daughter of the Emperor. She also accompanied the Emperor on foreign visits.

When the Ethiopian Court were overthrown by the Marxist regime in 1974, the Princess along with several of the other Princesses were imprisoned, together with her sons except for Tefferi and Dawit who were abroad at school. After years of pressure from Western governments, the Princesses were released in 1988, a year later her sons were released. Sadly, just before their release Prince Dawit was found dead at his home in Switzerland.

After the fall of the Marxist regime, the Princess and her sons were allowed to travel abroad, and they lived for many years in London. However, she always returned for any imperial funerals including that of her sister-in-law, Princess Tenagnework. However, recently she returned to Ethiopia and passed away in the capital, following her passing her body lay in state in Addis Ababa’s Holy Trinity Cathedral. Her funeral was presided over by His Holiness, Abune Mathias I, Patriarch of Ethiopia of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

Her son, Prince Paul Wossen Seged is currently second-in-line to the throne of Ethiopia, should the monarchy be restored, as Crown Prince Zera Yacob Amha Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Hailie Selassie, has not had any children.