First published on Yahoo
He has a larger-than-life personality not unlike his son-in-law's. She was a striking beauty with an eye for fashion, much like her daughter. Meet Viktor and Amalija Knavs – parents of Melania Trump, America's first foreign-born First Lady – who became freshly-minted US citizens on Thursday. Having previously lived on green cards sponsored by Melania, who moved to the United States from Slovenia to work as a model in 1996, the Knavs swore an oath of citizenship in a naturalisation ceremony in New York – taking advantage of a form of 'chain migration' that President Donald Trump has previously tried to appeal. So, what else do we know about his in-laws? Viktor Knavs, right, and his wife Amalija, left, arrive at their naturalisation ceremony in New York on Thursday Credit: Seth Wenig/AP Viktor Knavs A member of the Communist Party as a young man, 74 year-old Viktor lived in the rural town of Sevnica in Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia, which was best known for its medieval castle and annual salami festival – at least until his son-in-law's unexpected ascent to the White House. In the former Yugoslavia, membership of the Communist Party was a highly-coveted privilege reserved for an elite few – it's not known how Viktor won his place, although some have speculated that his job as a chauffeur for a mayor of a neighbouring town may have played a part. According to the New York Times, Mr Knav was described by former neighbours as a “larger than life” character, who carried himself in much the same way as his future son-in-law, Donald Trump, and had a fondness for Mercedes and Masaratis. First Lady Melania And Her Sister Ines ❤️ #FirstLady #MelaniaTrump #InesKnauss #Sisters #Gorgeous @flotus @inesknauss A post shared by Melania Knauss Trump (@first_lady_melania) on Apr 11, 2018 at 7:00am PDT After working as a chauffeur, Viktor became a travelling car salesman before eventually opening up a moderately successful shop selling bicycles and spare car parts. He met Amalija in 1966 and the pair had a daughter, Ines, before Melania was born in 1970. The family moved to a government-owned housing block for workers of a nearby textile factory and later bought an apartment in the capital city of Ljubljana. The building’s superintendent, Joze Vuk recalled that Viktor “always wore a tie, smart clothes and carried a briefcase.You could not avoid noticing him.” Donald Trump described his father-in-law as “pretty successful” in a 2016 interview. “It’s a different kind of success than you have here. But he was successful.” Viktor has now put his humble Slovenian beginnings behind him, and spends much of his time in Trump Tower in Manhattan and Mar-a-Lago, his son-in-law's glamorous beach resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Malija Knavs, Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Barron Trump, Santa Claus, and Viktor Knavs on Christmas Day at the Mar-a-Lago estate in 2008 Credit: Davidoff Studios/Getty Images Amalija Knavs Much less is known about Amalija, Melania’s mother, nicknamed Malci. The fragments of her biography revealed by the family indicate shespent her years in Svenica pursuing a love of fashion and beauty. Gifted with striking looks, Amalija started out harvesting red onions on her parents’ farm, according to the New York Times. While her husband drove around the country selling cars, Amalija later took a job in a Svenica textile factory, and is remembered for walking over the bridge to work each day in heels. Melania's older sister, Ines, shared a picture of their parents in 1967 on Facebook Credit: Ines Knauss, Facebook She frequently spent her free time after work sewing dresses for her two daughters, bequeathing to Melania an appreciation for fashion which would ultimately take her to the New York Fashion Week party at Manhattan's Kit Kat Club in 1998, where she met Donald Trump. Along with Viktor, she now spends much of her time in the US with their daughter and 12 year-old grandson. Barron is apparently close to grandparents, with whom he reportedly speaks Slovenian, and Politico described them as "hyperinvolved" in his life. Melania's success has also allowed her parents to buy a handsome mansion in their home town of Sevnica – complete with security guards to ward off unwanted visitors.