Funeral set for Melania Trump’s mother at church near Mar-a-Lago

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Funeral services for former first lady Melania Trump‘s mother, Amalija Knavs, are scheduled for Thursday at a church not far from the family’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

Private services for Knavs, 78, will be at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, the congregation former President Donald Trump sometimes attends and where he and his wife were married in 2005. Knavs died Jan. 9 in Miami after an undisclosed illness.

During the Trump presidency, the first lady’s mother lived in New York along with her father, Viktor Knavs, who survives her, and occasionally appeared at the White House. Amalija Knavs was at a 2018 ceremony where the first lady debuted her “Be Best” public awareness campaign to help children.

The Knavses raised Melania, born Melanija, and her older sister, Ines, in the rural industrial town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under Communist rule as part of Yugoslavia. Amalija Knavs was a textile worker and homemaker, while her husband worked as chauffeur before becoming a car dealer.

The former first lady, 53, attended high school in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modeling. She settled in New York in 1996 and met Trump in 1998.

She sponsored her parents’ immigration to the United States, and they became citizens at a New York City courthouse in 2018, while Trump was president.

Their lawyer said at the time that they applied for citizenship on their own and didn’t get any special treatment.

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