10 February 2013

The Last Empress of the Persian Empire

Farah Diba was only 21 years old when she married the 38-year-old Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi. She was born 14 October 1938.

Farah was the only person to hold the office of Shahbanou since pre-Islamic Iran. The title of Shahbanou is the feminine equivalent of Shahanshah, which means "King of Kings."

Farah Pahlavi had four children, Reza, Farahnaz, Ali Reza, and Leila. She has  4 grandchildren, Princesses Noor, Farah, and Iman (daughters of her oldest son, Reza), and Princess Iryana Leila, daughter of Ali Reza.

The Last Empress, Farah Diba Pahlavi, spends her exile between Washington, D.C., and Paris. She makes an annual pilgrimage to Cairo to visit the Mausoleum of her husband, Shah Reza Pahlavi.

The Persian Imperial Family were ousted in 1979, and they spent a grueling number of years afterwards, trying to find a country that would grant them asylum. They moved first to Egypt, then to Mexico. The Shah died of cancer in 1981.

Farah at her coronation in 1967. She acted as Queen Regent of Iran after her husband's death in 1980, until her son, Reza Pahlavi, took over the role of Emperor-in-Exile.

The Pahalvi's suffered greatly after their exile. Farah's youngest daughter, Princess Leila, because of the death of her father and the pain of exile, which both happened when she was so young, suffered from depression and had a dependence on medication, which led to her untimely death at the age of 31, in 2001. Farah's younger son, Prince Ali Reza, commited suicide in 2011. He had a daughter, HIH Princess Iryana Leila, born in 2011, months after Ali Reza had already died.