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Homaira Shah, 84; Former Afghan Queen

June 27, 2002|From Associated Press

Homaira Shah, the former queen of Afghanistan and wife of ex-monarch Mohammad Zaher Shah, died Wednesday in Rome. She was 84.

Shah suffered a heart attack after having been hospitalized this week with a fever, said her granddaughter, Homaira Wali.

Shah, who had lived with her husband in Rome since he was ousted from power in 1973, didn't follow the king on his historic return to Afghanistan in April because of her deteriorating health.

She had, however, planned to return, Wali said.

Members of the family are trying to take her body back to Kabul for burial. They hope to do so in the next three to four days, Wali said.

"We are trying to get her back as soon as possible," Wali said, adding that her grandmother would be buried in the royal tomb on a hill overlooking the capital.

The bullet-scarred tomb was one of the first places Zaher Shah visited after he returned to Kabul on April 18, ending a 29-year exile.

He was married to his cousin, Princess Homaira, daughter of Sardar Ahem Shah, on Nov. 4, 1931.

Zaher Shah and his family moved to Rome after a 1973 coup by his cousin ended his 40-year reign.

The family lived in a comfortable home in a gated community outside Rome, surrounded by relatives and a small core of advisors--many of whom recently followed the ex-monarch back to Kabul.

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