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Farah Pahlavi

Farah Pahlavi

Overview
Farah Pahlavi
is the former Queen and Empress of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. She is the widow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

, the Shah of Iran, and only Empress (Shahbanou) of modern Iran. She was Queen consort of Iran from 1959 until 1967 and Empress consort from 1967 until exile in 1979.

Though the titles and distinctions of the Iranian Imperial Family were abolished within Iran by the Islamic government, she is still styled Empress or Shahbanou, out of courtesy, by the foreign media as well as by supporters of the monarchy.
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Farah Pahlavi
is the former Queen and Empress of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. She is the widow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

, the Shah of Iran, and only Empress (Shahbanou) of modern Iran. She was Queen consort of Iran from 1959 until 1967 and Empress consort from 1967 until exile in 1979.

Though the titles and distinctions of the Iranian Imperial Family were abolished within Iran by the Islamic government, she is still styled Empress or Shahbanou, out of courtesy, by the foreign media as well as by supporters of the monarchy. Some countries such as the United States of America, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 still address the former Empress as Her Imperial Majesty The Shahbanou of Iran in official documents, for example Royal wedding
Royal Wedding
Royal Wedding is a 1951 Hollywood musical comedy film known for Fred Astaire's dance performance on a ceiling and another with a coat rack. The story is set in London in 1947 at the time of the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and stars Astaire, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford, Sarah...

 guest lists.

Childhood


Farah Diba was born on 14 October 1938 in the Iranian capital Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, to an upper class family. Born as Farah Diba, she was the only child of Captain Sohrab Diba and his wife, Farideh Ghotbi. Farah Pahlavi is of Azeri origin
Iranian Azerbaijanis
Iranian Azerbaijanis also known as Iranian Azeris, Iranian Turks, Azeri Turks or Persian Azerbaijanis, are Iranians of Azerbaijani ethnicity. Iranian Azeris are mainly found in the northwest provinces of East Azerbaijan, Ardabil, Zanjan, parts of West Azerbaijan, and in smaller numbers, in other...

. In her memoir, the former Empress writes that her father's family were natives of Iranian Azarbaijan while her mother's family were from Gilan Province
Gilan Province
Gilan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It lies along the Caspian Sea, just west of the province of Mazandaran, east of the province of Ardabil, north of the provinces of Zanjan and Qazvin....

 on the Iranian coast of the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

.

Through her father, Farah came from a relatively affluent background. In the late 19th century her grandfather had been an accomplished diplomat, serving as the Iranian Ambassador
Ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 to the Romanov Court in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Her own father was an officer in the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces and a graduate of the prestigious French Military Academy at St. Cyr
École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr
The École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr is the foremost French military academy. Its official name is . It is often referred to as Saint-Cyr . Its motto is "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre": literally "They study to vanquish" or "Training for victory"...

.

Farah enjoyed an extremely close bond with her father and his unexpected death in 1948 deeply affected her. This tragic situation furthermore left the young family in a difficult financial state. In these reduced circumstances, they were forced to move from their large family villa in northern Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 into a shared apartment with one of Farideh Ghotbi’s brothers.

Education and engagement


The young Farah Diba began her education at Tehran’s Italian School, then moved to the French Jeanne d'Arc School and later to the Lycee Razi
Razi High School
Le Lycee Razi translated in English as Razi High school. The name Lycee Razi is the official name of the school, and in French as it is known to the French community, and as a recognition of the French community contribution in this school...

. She was an accomplished athlete in her youth and became captain of her school's basketball team. Upon finishing her studies at the Lycee Razi
Razi High School
Le Lycee Razi translated in English as Razi High school. The name Lycee Razi is the official name of the school, and in French as it is known to the French community, and as a recognition of the French community contribution in this school...

, she pursued an interest in architecture at the École Spéciale d'Architecture
École Spéciale d'Architecture
The École Spéciale d'Architecture is a private school for architecture at 254, boulevard Raspail in Paris, France.The school was founded in 1865 by engineer Emile Trélat as reaction against the educational monopoly of Beaux-Arts architecture...

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, where she was a student of Albert Besson
Albert Besson
Albert Besson was a French hygienist, physician and member of the French Academy of Medicine.-Biography:In 1916, as officer cadet, he was seriously injured at the fort Vaux, during the battle of Verdun, after saving wounded soldiers, and at first, was considered as dead *.On the way to recovery,...

.

Many Iranian students who were studying abroad at this time were dependent on State sponsorship in order to do so. Therefore when the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

, as head of state, made official visits to foreign countries, he would frequently meet with a selection of local Iranian students. It was during such a meeting in 1959 at the Iranian Embassy in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 that Farah Diba was first presented to Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.

After returning to Tehran in the summer of 1959, the Shah and Farah Diba began a carefully choreographed courtship, orchestrated in part by the Shah’s daughter Princess Shahnaz
Shahnaz Pahlavi
Princess Shahnaz Pahlavi is the first child of the late Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and his first wife, Princess Fawzia of Egypt.A former Princess of Iran, she was born in Tehran but since the Iranian revolution has lived in Switzerland....

. The couple announced their engagement on 23 November 1959.

Marriage and family



Farah Diba married His Imperial Majesty Shah Mohammed Reza on 21 December 1959, aged 21. The young Queen of Iran (as she was styled
Style (manner of address)
A style of office, or honorific, is a legal, official, or recognized title. A style, by tradition or law, precedes a reference to a person who holds a post or political office, and is sometimes used to refer to the office itself. An honorific can also be awarded to an individual in a personal...

 at the time) was the object of much curiosity and her wedding garnered worldwide press attention. After the pomp and celebrations associated with the Royal wedding were completed, the success of this union became contingent upon the Queen’s ability to produce a male heir. Although he had been married twice before, the Shah’s previous marriages had given him only a daughter, who under agnatic primogeniture could not inherit the throne.
The pressure for the young Queen was acute. The Shah himself was deeply anxious to have a male heir as were the members of his government. It was, furthermore, no secret that the dissolution of the Shah’s previous marriage to Queen Soraya
Soraya Esfandiary
Princess Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari was the second wife and Queen Consort of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the late Shah of Iran.-Birth:...

 had been due to her infertility.

The long-awaited heir, Reza Pahlavi
Reza Pahlavi
Reza Pahlavi may refer to:*Reza Shah , aka Reza Shah Pahlavi, Shah of Persia from 1925 until 1935 and Shah of Iran from 1935 until 1941* Mohammad Reza Pahlavi , Shah of Iran from 1941 to 1979, son of Reza Shah...

, was born on 30 October 1960. Together the couple would go on to have four children:
  • H.I.H. Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi
    Reza Pahlavi
    Reza Pahlavi may refer to:*Reza Shah , aka Reza Shah Pahlavi, Shah of Persia from 1925 until 1935 and Shah of Iran from 1935 until 1941* Mohammad Reza Pahlavi , Shah of Iran from 1941 to 1979, son of Reza Shah...

     (born 30 October 1960)
  • H.I.H. Princess Farahnaz Pahlavi
    Farahnaz Pahlavi
    Princess Farahnaz Pahlavi is the eldest daughter of the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran by his third wife, Empress Farah Diba....

     (born 12 March 1963)
  • H.I.H. Prince Ali Reza Pahlavi (28 April 1966 – 4 January 2011)
  • H.I.H. Princess Leila Pahlavi
    Leila Pahlavi
    Princess Leila Pahlavi , ‎ , born in Tehran, Iran was the youngest daughter of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, and his third wife, Farah Pahlavi.-Early life:Leila was born on 27 March 1970 in Tehran...

     ( 27 March 1970 – 10 June 2001)

As Queen and Empress


The exact role which the new Queen would play if any, in public or government affairs, was uncertain. Within the Imperial Household, her public function was secondary to the far more pressing matter of assuring the succession. However, after the birth of the Crown Prince, the new Queen was free to devote more of her time to other activities and official pursuits.

Not unlike many other Royal consorts, the young Queen initially limited herself to a ceremonial role. She spent much of her time attending the openings of various education and health-care institutions, without venturing too deeply into issues of controversy. However, as time progressed, this position changed. The Queen became much more actively involved in government affairs where it concerned issues and causes that interested her. She used her proximity and influence with her husband, the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

, to secure funding and focus attention on causes, particularly in the areas of women's rights and cultural development.
Eventually, the Queen came to preside over a staff of 40 workers who handled various requests for assistance on a range of issues. She became one of the most highly visible figures in the Imperial Government and the patron of 24 educational, health and cultural organizations. Her humanitarian role earned her immense popularity for a time, particularly in the early 1970s. During this period, she travelled a great deal within Iran, visiting some of the remotest parts of the country and meeting with the local citizens.

The Imperial Government in Tehran was not unaware of her popularity. Her significance was exemplified by her part in the 1967 Coronation Ceremonies, where she was crowned as the first Shahbanou, or Empress, of modern Iran. It was again confirmed when the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

 named her as the official Empress Regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 should he die or be incapacitated before the Crown Prince’s 21st birthday. The naming of a woman as Regent was highly unusual for a Middle-Eastern Monarchy.

Criticism


Farah's tenure as Empress was not without controversy. The causes she championed and her role in government sometimes came into conflict with certain groups, particularly religious conservatives. This group’s dissatisfaction was aimed at the entire Pahlavi government and not solely at the Empress. Although not the source of the animosity, the Empress became its target.

She, along with the entire Pahlavi government, was criticized for what were perceived as excesses. Two State occasions garnered particular ire, the elaborate Coronation ceremonies in 1967, but predominantly the 2,500 year celebration of Iran's monarchy
2,500 year celebration of Iran's monarchy
The 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire consisted of an elaborate set of festivities that took place October 12–16, 1971, on the occasion of the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Iranian monarchy by Cyrus the Great...

 held in 1971 in the ancient city of Persepolis
Persepolis
Perspolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire . Persepolis is situated northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid...

. While the Empress herself defended this event as a magnificent showcase of Iran’s history and its contemporary advancements, critics claimed the cost (which although disputed was certainly in the tens of millions of dollars) was far too high, given the other more pressing financial needs of the country.

Contributions to art and culture



From even the beginning of her reign, the Empress took an active interest in promoting culture and the arts in Iran. Through her patronage, numerous organizations were created and fostered to further her ambition of bringing historical and contemporary Iranian Art to prominence both inside Iran and in the Western world.

In addition to her own efforts, the Empress sought to achieve this goal with the assistance of various foundations and advisers. Her ministry encouraged many forms of artistic expression, including traditional Iranian arts (such as weaving, singing, and poetry recital) as well as Western theatre. Her most recognized endeavour supporting the performing arts was her patronage of the Shiraz Arts Festival
Shiraz Arts Festival
The Shiraz Arts Festival was an arts festival held annually from 1967 to 1977 in the Iranian city Shiraz. Its creation was suggested by Farah Pahlavi and sponsored by National Iranian Radio & Television...

. This occasionally controversial event was held annually from 1967 until 1977 and featured live performances by both Iranian and Western artists.

The majority of her time, however, went into the creation of museums and the building of their collections.

Ancient art


Although one of the most culturally-rich countries in the world, the Iran of the 1960s had little to show for it. Many of the great artistic treasures produced during its 2,500-year history had found their way into the hands of foreign museums and private collections. It became one of the Empress's principal goals to procure for Iran an appropriate collection of their own historic artefacts. To that end, she secured from her husband’s Government permission and funds to ‘buy back’ a wide selection of Iranian artifacts from foreign and domestic collections. With these artefacts she founded several national museums (many of which still survive to this day) and began an Iranian version of the National Trust
National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is an American member-supported organization that was founded in 1949 by congressional charter to support preservation of historic buildings and neighborhoods through a range of programs and activities, including the publication of Preservation...

.

Museums and cultural centres created under her guidance include the Negarestan Cultural Center, the Reza Abbasi Museum
Reza Abbasi Museum
The Reza Abbasi Museum is a museum in Tehran, Iran. It is located in Seyed Khandan. The museum is named after Reza Abbasi, one of the artists in the Safavid period.-History:...

, the Khorramabad
Khorramabad
Khorramabad is a city in and capital of Lorestan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 328,544, in 75,945 families. Khorramabad is situated in the Zagros Mountains...

 Museum with its valuable collection of Lorestān bronzes, the National Carpet Gallery and the Abgineh Museum for ceramics and glass works.

Contemporary art


Aside from building a collection of historic Iranian artifacts, the Empress also expressed interest in acquiring contemporary Western and Iranian art. To this end, she put her significant patronage behind the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art is an art museum in Tehran, Iran.Inaugurated in 1977, and built adjacent to Tehran's Laleh Park, the museum was designed by Iranian architect Kamran Diba, who employed elements from traditional Persian architecture. The building can be listed as a contemporary...

. The fruits of her work in founding and expanding that institution are perhaps the Empress' most enduring cultural legacy to the people of Iran.

Using funds allocated from the Government, the Empress took advantage of a somewhat depressed art market of the 1970s to purchase several important works of Western art. Under her guidance, the Museum acquired nearly 150 great works by such notable artists as Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

, Claude Monet
Claude Monet
Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. . Retrieved 6 January 2007...

, George Grosz
George Grosz
Georg Ehrenfried Groß was a German artist known especially for his savagely caricatural drawings of Berlin life in the 1920s...

, Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
Andrew Warhola , known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art...

, Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock
Paul Jackson Pollock , known as Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety. He was regarded as a mostly reclusive artist. He had a volatile personality, and...

, and Roy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein was a prominent American pop artist. During the 1960s his paintings were exhibited at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City and along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and others he became a leading figure in the new art movement...

. Today, the collection of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art is an art museum in Tehran, Iran.Inaugurated in 1977, and built adjacent to Tehran's Laleh Park, the museum was designed by Iranian architect Kamran Diba, who employed elements from traditional Persian architecture. The building can be listed as a contemporary...

 is widely considered to be one of the finest 20th-century Western art collections in the world, in addition to being the most significant outside of Europe and the United States. It is somewhat remarkable then, according to Parviz Tanavoli
Parviz Tanavoli
Parviz Tanavoli is an Iranian sculptor now residing in Canada. He was born in Tehran, Iran in 1937.-Academic career:Upon graduating from the Brera Academy of Milan in 1959, Tanavoli taught sculpture for three years at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design...

, a modern Iranian sculptor and a former Cultural Adviser to the Empress, that the impressive collection was amassed for "tens, not hundreds, of millions of dollars". Today, the value of these holdings are conservatively estimated to be near US$ 2.8 billion.

The collection created a conundrum for the anti-western Islamic Republic which took power after the fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty
Pahlavi dynasty
The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi (reg. 1925–1941) and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty ...

 in 1979. Although politically the fundamentalist government rejected Western influence in Iran, the Western art collection amassed by the Empress was retained, most likely due to its enormous value. It was, nevertheless, not publicly displayed and spent nearly two decades in storage in the vaults of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art is an art museum in Tehran, Iran.Inaugurated in 1977, and built adjacent to Tehran's Laleh Park, the museum was designed by Iranian architect Kamran Diba, who employed elements from traditional Persian architecture. The building can be listed as a contemporary...

. This caused much speculation as to the fate of the artwork which was only put to rest after a large portion of the collection was briefly seen again in an exhibition that took place in Tehran during September 2005.

The Iranian Revolution




In Iran by early 1978, a number of factors contributed to the internal dissatisfaction with the Imperial Government
Pahlavi dynasty
The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi (reg. 1925–1941) and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty ...

 becoming more pronounced.

Discontent within the country continued to escalate and later in the year led to demonstrations against the monarchy. The Empress could not help but be aware of the disturbances and records in her memoirs that during this time ‘there was an increasingly palpable sense of unease’. Under these circumstances most of the Empress’ official activities were cancelled due to concerns for her safety.

As the year came to a close, the political situation deteriorated further. Riots and unrest grew more frequent, culminating in January 1979. The government enacted martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 in most major Iranian cities and the country was on the verge of an open revolution.

It was at this time, in response to the violent protests, that the Shah
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

 and Empress Farah determined to leave the country. Both the Shah and Shahbanu
Shahbanu
Shahbanu means Empress in Persian. It was a title that was only conferred on the third royal consort of Mohammad Reza Shah, Farah Pahlavi, in 1967....

 departed Iran via aircraft on 16 January 1979.

After leaving Iran


The question of where the Shah and Empress would go upon leaving Iran was the subject of some debate, even among the monarch and his advisers. During his reign, the Shah had maintained close relations with Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian President Anwar El Sadat and the Empress had developed a close friendship with the President’s wife, Jehan Al Sadat. The Egyptian President extended an invitation to the Imperial Couple for asylum in Egypt and they accepted.

Due to the political situation unfolding in Iran, many governments, including those which had been on friendly terms with the Iranian Monarchy
Pahlavi dynasty
The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi (reg. 1925–1941) and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty ...

 prior to the revolution, saw the Shah’s presence within their borders as a liability. Although a callous reversal, this was not entirely unfounded as the Revolutionary Government
History of the Islamic Republic of Iran
One of the most dramatic changes in government in Iran's history was seen with the 1979 Iranian Revolution where Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown and replaced by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini...

 in Iran had ordered the arrest (and later death) of both the Shah and Empress Farah. The new Iranian Government would go on to vehemently demand their extradition a number of times but the extent to which it would act in pressuring foreign powers for the deposed monarch's return (and presumably that of the Empress) was at that time unknown. Regardless, the predicament was complex.

The Shah and Empress were far from unaware of this complexity and cognizant of the potential danger which their presence exposed their host. In response, the Imperial Couple left Egypt, beginning a fourteen-month long search for permanent asylum and a journey which took them through many different countries. After Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, they first traveled to Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, where they were briefly the guests of King Hassan II
Hassan II of Morocco
King Hassan II l-ḥasan aṯ-ṯānī, dial. el-ḥasan ettâni); July 9, 1929 – July 23, 1999) was King of Morocco from 1961 until his death in 1999...

.

After leaving Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, the Shah and Empress were granted temporary refuge in the Bahamas and given use of a small beach property located on Paradise Island
Paradise Island
Paradise Island is an island in the Bahamas formerly known as Hog Island. The island is located just off the shore of the city of Nassau, which is itself located on the northern edge of the island of New Providence. It is best known for the sprawling 'Vegas-by-the-sea resort' Atlantis.Paradise...

. Ironically, Empress Farah recalls the time spent at this pleasantly named location as some of the ‘darkest days in her life’. After their Bahaman visas expired and were not renewed, they made an appeal to Mexico, which was granted, and rented a villa in Cuernavaca
Cuernavaca
Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. It was established at the archeological site of Gualupita I by the Olmec, "the mother culture" of Mesoamerica, approximately 3200 years ago...

 near Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

.

The Shah’s illness


After leaving Egypt the Shah’s health began a rapid decline due to a long-term battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The seriousness of that illness brought the now exiled Imperial couple briefly to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in search of medical treatment. The couple’s presence in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 further inflamed the already tense relations between Washington and the revolutionaries in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

. The Shah’s stay in the US, although for genuine medical purposes, became the tipping point for renewed hostilities between the two nations. These events ultimately led to the attack and takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran in what became known as the Iran hostage crisis
Iran hostage crisis
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian...

.

In these difficult circumstances, the Shah and Empress were not given permission to remain in the United States. A short time after receiving basic medical attention, the couple again departed to Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

, although this time destined for Contadora Island in Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

.

By now, both the Shah and Empress viewed the Carter Administration
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 with some antipathy in response to a lack of support and were initially pleased to leave. That attitude, however soured as speculation arose that the Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

nian Government was seeking to arrest the Shah in preparation for extradition to Iran. Under these conditions the Shah and Empress again made an appeal to President Anwar El Sadat to return to Egypt (for her part Empress Farah writes that this plea was made through a conversation between herself and Jehan Al Sadat). Their request was granted and they returned to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 in March 1980, where they remained until the Shah’s death four months later on 27 July 1980.

Life in exile


After the Shah’s death, the exiled Empress remained in Egypt for nearly two years. President Sadat gave her and her family use of Koubbeh Palace
Koubbeh Palace
Koubbeh Palace, is one of the various Egyptian palaces which currently serve as the country's official guest house for visiting dignitaries....

 in Cairo. A few months after President Sadat’s assassination in October 1981, the Empress and her family left Egypt. President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 informed the Empress that she was welcome in the United States.

She first settled in Williamstown, Massachusetts
Williamstown, Massachusetts
Williamstown is a town in Berkshire County, in the northwest corner of Massachusetts. It shares a border with Vermont to the north and New York to the west. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 7,754 at the 2010 census...

 but later bought a home in Greenwich, Connecticut
Greenwich, Connecticut
Greenwich is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 61,171. It is home to many hedge funds and other financial service companies. Greenwich is the southernmost and westernmost municipality in Connecticut and is 38+ minutes ...

. After the death of her daughter Princess Leila
Leila Pahlavi
Princess Leila Pahlavi , ‎ , born in Tehran, Iran was the youngest daughter of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, and his third wife, Farah Pahlavi.-Early life:Leila was born on 27 March 1970 in Tehran...

 in 2001, she purchased a smaller home in Potomac, Maryland
Potomac, Maryland
Potomac is a census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, named for the nearby Potomac River. The population was 44,822 at the 2000 census. The Potomac area is known for its very affluent and highly-educated residents. In 2009 CNNMoney.com listed Potomac as the fourth...

, near Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, to be closer to her son and grandchildren. Empress Farah now divides her time between Washington D.C and Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. The Empress currently has three grandchildren (granddaughters) through her son Reza and his wife Yasmine
Yasmine Pahlavi
Yasmine Pahlavi is the wife of Reza Pahlavi, the last crown prince of the former Imperial State of Iran.-Biography:...

.
  • Noor (3 April 1992)
  • Iman (12 September 1993)
  • Farah (17 January 2004)


The Empress also has one granddaughter through her late son Alireza Pahlavi and his companion Raha Didevar.
  • Iryana Leila (26 July 2011)


She was featured in a Swedish documentary made by Swedish-Iranian film director Nahid Persson Sarvestani titled The Queen and I
The Queen and I (film)
The Queen and I is a 2008 documentary film about Farah Pahlavi, the Queen/Empress of Iran. The film was produced and directed by Iranian-Swedish filmmaker Nahid Persson Sarvestani...

in 2008.

Memoir


In 2003, Farah Pahlavi wrote a book about her marriage to the Shah entitled An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah
An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah
An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah is a 2004 book written by Farah Pahlavi, the former Shahbanu of Iran, who has been living in exile since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 which saw overthrow of the Pahlavi Dynasty. It is a memoir about Farah, her life before she met the Shah and how she...

. The publication of the former Empress's memoirs attracted international interest. It was a best-seller in Europe, with excerpts appearing in news magazines and the author appearing on talk shows and in other media outlets. However, opinion about the book, which Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly, aka PW, is an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents...

called "a candid, straightforward account" and the Washington Post called "engrossing", was mixed.

The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, Elaine Sciolino
Elaine Sciolino
Elaine Sciolino is a Paris correspondent and former Paris bureau chief for The New York Times, writing from France since 2002.-Biography:...

, the paper's Paris bureau chief, gave the book a less than flattering review, describing it as "well translated" but "full of anger and bitterness.". The National Review's
National Review
National Review is a biweekly magazine founded by the late author William F. Buckley, Jr., in 1955 and based in New York City. It describes itself as "America's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for conservative news, commentary, and opinion."Although the print version of the...

, Reza Bayegan, an Iranian writer, however praised the memoir as "abound[ing] with affection and sympathy for her countrymen."

Titles, styles and honours



Titles and styles

  • Miss Farah Diba (1938–1959)
  • Her Majesty
    Majesty
    Majesty is an English word derived ultimately from the Latin maiestas, meaning "greatness".- Origin :Originally, during the Roman republic, the word maiestas was the legal term for the supreme status and dignity of the state, to be respected above everything else...

    The Queen of Iran (1959–1967)
  • Her Imperial Majesty The Empress of Iran (1967–1979)
  • Her Imperial Majesty Empress Farah of Iran (pretender
    Pretender
    A pretender is one who claims entitlement to an unavailable position of honour or rank. Most often it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied or claimed by a rival, or has been abolished....

    , 1979–present)

Honours

Order of the Pleiades, 1st Class of Iran (1959) Member of the Order of the Seraphim
Order of the Seraphim
The Royal Order of the Seraphim is a Swedish Royal order of chivalry created by King Frederick I of Sweden on 23 February 1748, together with the Order of the Sword and the Order of the Polar Star...

 of Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 (1960) Knight of the Order of the Elephant
Order of the Elephant
The Order of the Elephant is the highest order of Denmark. It has origins in the 15th century, but has officially existed since 1693, and since the establishment of constitutional monarchy in 1849, is now almost exclusively bestowed on royalty and heads of state.- History :A Danish religious...

 of Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 (1963) Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion (1963) Grand Cross of the Legion d'Honneur
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

 of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (1963) Grand Cross of the Order of the Queen of Sheba of Ethiopia
Ethiopian Empire
The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia and Eritrea covers, and included in its peripheries Zeila, Djibouti, Yemen and Western Saudi Arabia...

 (1964) Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold of Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 (1964) Grand Cross of the Order of St Olav of Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 (1965) Grand Cordon of the Order of Independence of Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 (1965) Grand Collar of the Order of the Southern Cross
Order of the Southern Cross
The National Order of the Southern Cross is a Brazilian order of chivalry founded by Emperor Pedro I on 1 December 1822. This order was intended to commemorate the independence of Brazil and the coronation of Pedro I...

 of Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 (1965) Grand Cross of the Order of the Liberator General San Martin
Order of the Liberator General San Martin
The Order of the Liberator General San Martin is the highest decoration in Argentina.The Grades are:*Collar *Grand Cross *Grand Officer *Commander *Officer *Knight...

 of Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 (1965) Order of the Yugoslav Star
Order of the Yugoslav Star
Order of the Yugoslav Star was the highest National order of merit awarded in Yugoslavia. It was divided into four classes. The highest class, the Yugoslav Great Star was the highest state decoration awarded in Yugoslavia...

, 1st Class of Yugoslavia (1966) Grand Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria
Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria
The Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria is a state decoration of the Republic of Austria...

 in Gold with Sash (1966) Special Class of the Bundesverdienstkreuz
Bundesverdienstkreuz
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is the only general state decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has existed since 7 September 1951, and between 3,000 and 5,200 awards are given every year across all classes...

 of West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 (1967) Order of Aryamehr
Aryamehr
Aryamehr was the title used in the Pahlavi dynasty by Shahanshah Mohammad Reza Shah of Iran. It means Light of the Aryans.-History:It was granted as a secondary title by a session of the joint Houses of Parliament 1965 September 15, to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, reigning since...

, 1st Class of Iran (1967) Grand Commander of the Order of the Crown of Malaysia
Order of the Crown of Malaysia
The Most Esteemed Order of the Crown of Malaysia is a Malaysian federal award presented for meritorious service to the country. The order was instituted on 15 April 1966. The order has three ranks:...

 (1968) Order of the Precious Crown
Order of the Precious Crown
The Order of the Precious Crown is a Japanese order, established on January 4, 1888 by Emperor Meiji of Japan. Originally the order had five classes, but on April 13, 1896 the sixth, seventh and eighth classes were added....

, 1st Class of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 (1968) Knight of the Order of the Royal House of Chakri
Order of the Royal House of Chakri
The Most Illustrious Order of the Royal House of Chakri was established in 1882 by King Rama V of The Kingdom of Siam to commemorate the Bangkok Centennial...

 of Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 (1968) Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 (1974) Grand Cross of the Order of Isabel the Catholic
Order of Isabel the Catholic
The Order of Isabella the Catholic is a Spanish civil order granted in recognition of services that benefit the country. The Order is not exclusive to Spaniards, and many foreigners have been awarded it....

 of Spain (1975)

See also

  • Yasmine Pahlavi
    Yasmine Pahlavi
    Yasmine Pahlavi is the wife of Reza Pahlavi, the last crown prince of the former Imperial State of Iran.-Biography:...

  • Princess Fawzia Fuad of Egypt
  • Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari
  • Iranian women
    Iranian women
    Iranian women in this article refers to women of, or from, traditional Persian or modern Iranian culture.-Depictions and appearance:...

  • Iranian Crown Jewels
    Iranian Crown Jewels
    The Imperial crown jewels of Iran include several elaborate crowns and decorative thrones, thirty tiaras, and numerous aigrettes, a dozen bejewelled swords and shields, a vast number of unset precious gems, numerous plates and other dining services cast in precious metals and encrusted with gems,...


External links


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