Farah Pahlavi

Farah Pahlavi

Former Iranian Empress, widow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran
Date of Birth: 14.10.1938
Country: Iran

  1. Biography of Farah Pahlavi
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Marriage and Family
  4. Exile and Life in the United States

Biography of Farah Pahlavi

Early Life and Education

Farah Pahlavi, formerly known as Farah Diba, was born in Tehran, Iran to a wealthy family. She was the only child of Captain Sohrab Diba and Farideh Ghotbi. Farah had some Azerbaijani ancestry from her father's side. Her mother was from the province of Gilan in Iran. Farah's paternal ancestors were of particular interest to historians. Her grandfather served as Iran's ambassador to the court of the Romanovs in the late 19th century. Farah's father chose a military career and attended the prestigious French Military Academy in St. Cyr.

Farah Pahlavi

Farah was very close to her father, and his sudden death in 1948 deeply affected her. Unfortunately, her family faced financial difficulties after his passing, and Farah and her mother had to move to her maternal uncle's apartment.

Farah Pahlavi

Farah studied in Tehran and then went to France for her education. She attended the École Spéciale d'Architecture in Paris, where she was taught by Albert Besson. She received a state scholarship, which was granted to many Iranian students studying abroad. It was during one of the gatherings at the Iranian embassy in Paris that Farah first met Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran.

Marriage and Family

Farah returned to Tehran in the summer of 1959, and soon after, the Shah began courting her. Princess Shahnaz, the Shah's daughter, played a significant role in orchestrating their courtship. They announced their engagement on November 23, 1959, and got married on December 21, 1959. As the young queen, Farah attracted global media attention. However, her primary responsibility was to bear a male heir, as the Shah had been married twice before and had only fathered a daughter.

Their son, Reza Pahlavi, was born on October 30, 1960, finally fulfilling the Shah's desire for a male heir. Farah and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had a total of four children. After the birth of her son, Farah had the opportunity to focus on her role as queen. She frequently attended ceremonial events and became interested in educational and medical institutions. Over time, Farah became involved in more substantial state affairs and used her influence with her husband to address women's rights and cultural development in the country. She became one of the most prominent and influential figures in the imperial government.

Exile and Life in the United States

The Islamic Revolution in 1979 forced Farah and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to flee the country. They sought refuge in Egypt, where they were hosted by the Egyptian government. However, they couldn't stay there for long, as the revolutionaries had placed a substantial bounty on their heads. Additionally, the Shah was battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

They were ultimately forced to seek medical treatment in the United States. After the Shah's death in 1980, Farah spent two more years in Egypt before being invited to the United States. She initially settled in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and later purchased a home in Greenwich, Connecticut. After the death of her daughter Leila in 2001, Farah bought a small house in Potomac, Maryland, where she continues to reside to this day.