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Obituaries

Shock as Dutch queen’s young sister found dead ‘by suicide’ at home in Buenos Aires

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands is rushing to Argentina after the death of sister Inés Zorreguieta, 33, a UN researcher who was a bridesmaid at the royal wedding

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 June, 2018, 8:14am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 June, 2018, 8:14am

The youngest sister of Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, has been found dead in her apartment in Buenos Aires.

Inés Zorreguieta, 33, who worked as a researcher at the United Nations in Panama and was also a talented guitarist, was reported to have taken her own life by Argentinian and Dutch media.

The King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, and Queen Maxima are flying to Argentina for the funeral.

Zorreguieta enjoyed a close relationship with her sister, Máxima, and was bridesmaid at her wedding to the then Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander in 2002. She was godmother to the royal couple’s youngest daughter, Princess Ariane, 11.

The Queen, originally from Argentina, was said by the royal household to be “very shocked and very sad”. Maxima, 47, has two brothers, Martin and Juan, and three half sisters, Maria, Dolores and Ángeles.

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, said: “The sudden death of Queen Maxima’s sister comes as a big shock. It is intensely sad and heartbreaking news that can hardly be comprehended for those who stay behind.

“With our hearts and our thoughts we are with the queen and her family. I wish them all the strength necessary to carry this horrible loss together. And I trust that they will get the peace and space for that.”

A Dutch government spokesperson told Dutch NOS TV that Zorreguieta’s death appeared to have been suicide. She had previously suffered depression and was admitted to a psychiatric clinic in Buenos Aires in 2012, believed to have been suffering from anorexia and paranoia, the NOS added.

Zorreguieta was a psychologist who worked on social policies at the office of Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri. She had also worked for the social development ministry in Buenos Aires province and at a UN office in Panama.

Her father, Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta, who served as agriculture minister during Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship, died last year in Buenos Aires aged 89.

His past caused some controversy in the Netherlands, and prompted a debate in the Dutch parliament ahead of his daughter’s marriage to the crown prince.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, help is available. For Hong Kong, dial +852 28 960 000 for The Samaritans or +852 23 820 000 for Suicide Prevention Services. In the US, call The Lifeline on +1 800 273 8255. For a list of other nations’ helplines, see this page.

Additional reporting by Associated Press