|Birth Day:||October 14, 1938|
|Birth Place:||Tehran, Iran|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
She met the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, in 1959. They were married in December of that year.
Farah Diba was born on 14 October 1938 in Tehran to an upper-class family. Born as Farah Diba, she was the only child of Captain Sohrab Diba (1899–1948) and his wife, Farideh Ghotbi (1920–2000). Farah's father's family is of Iranian Azerbaijani origin. In her memoir, the Shahbanu writes that her father's family were natives of Iranian Azerbaijan while her mother's family were of Gilak origin, from Lahijan on the Iranian coast of the Caspian Sea.
Farah wrote in her memoir that she had a close bond with her father, and his unexpected death in 1948 deeply affected her. The young family was in a difficult financial state. In these reduced circumstances, they were forced to move from their large family villa in northern Tehran into a shared apartment with one of Farideh Ghotbi's brothers.
Many Iranian students who were studying abroad at this time were dependent on State sponsorship. Therefore, when the Shah, as head of state, made official visits to foreign countries, he frequently met with a selection of local Iranian students. It was during such a meeting in 1959 at the Iranian Embassy in Paris 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. The couple announced their engagement on 23 November 1959.
Farah Diba married Shah Mohammed Reza on 20 December 1959, aged 21. The young Queen of Iran (as she was styled at the time) was the object of much curiosity and her wedding received worldwide press attention. Her gown was designed by Yves Saint Laurent, then a designer at the house of Dior, and she wore the newly commissioned Noor-ol-Ain Diamond tiara.
Like many other royal consorts, the Queen initially limited herself to a ceremonial role. In 1961 during a visit to France, the Francophile Farah befriended the French culture minister André Malraux, leading her to arrange the exchange of cultural artifacts between French and Iranian art galleries and museums, a lively trade that continued until the Islamic revolution of 1979. Farah and Mohammad Reza usually spoke French rather than Farsi to their children. She spent much of her time attending the openings of various education and health-care institutions without venturing too deeply into controversial issues. 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, to secure funding and focus attention on causes, particularly in the areas of women's rights and cultural development. Farah's concerns were the "realms of education, health, culture and social matters" with politics being excluded from her purview. However, Mohammad Reza's politically powerful twin sister Princess Ashraf came to see Farah as a rival. It was the rivalry with Princess Ashraf that led Farah to press her husband into reducing her influence at the Court.
Farah worked long hours at her charitable activities, from about 9 am to 9 pm every weekday. Eventually, the Queen came to preside over a staff of 40 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 more remote parts of the country and meeting with the local citizens. Her significance was exemplified by her part in the 1967 Coronation Ceremonies, where she was crowned as the first shahbanu (empress) of modern Iran. It was again confirmed when the Shah named her as the official regent 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 or Muslim monarchy. The great wealth generated by Iran's oil encouraged a sense of Iranian nationalism at the Imperial Court. The Empress Farah recalled of her days as a university student in 1950s France about being asked where she was from:
One of the Empress Farah's main initiatives was founding Pahlavi University, which was meant to improve the education of Iranian women, and was the first American style university in Iran; before then, Iranian universities had always been modeled on the French style. The Empress wrote in 1978 that her duties were:
The collection created a conundrum for the anti-western Islamic Republic which took power after the fall of 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. 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.
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 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 Mohammad Reza and Farah decided to leave the country. They both departed Iran via aircraft on 16 January 1979.
By now, both the Shah and Empress viewed the Carter Administration 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 Panamanian 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 Sadat to return to Egypt (for her part Empress Farah writes that this plea was made through a conversation between herself and Jehan Sadat). Their request was granted and they returned to Egypt in March 1980, where they remained until the Shah's death four months later on 27 July 1980.
After the Shah's death, the exiled Shahbanu remained in Egypt for nearly two years. She was the regent in pretence from 27 July to 31 October 1980. President Anwar Sadat gave her and her family use of Koubbeh Palace in Cairo. A few months after President Sadat's assassination in October 1981, the Shahbanu and her family left Egypt. President Ronald Reagan informed her that she was welcome in the United States.
She first settled in Williamstown, Massachusetts, but later bought a home in Greenwich, Connecticut. After the death of her daughter Princess Leila in 2001, she purchased a smaller home in Potomac, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., to be closer to her son and grandchildren. Farah now divides her time between Washington, D.C., and Paris. She also makes an annual July visit to the late Shah's mausoleum at Cairo's al-Rifa'i Mosque.
In 2003, Farah Pahlavi wrote a book about her marriage to Mohammad Reza entitled An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah. 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 called "a candid, straightforward account" and the Washington Post called "engrossing", was mixed.
In 2009 the Persian-Swedish director Nahid Persson Sarvestani released a feature length documentary about Farah Pahlavi's life, entitled The Queen and I. The film was screened in various International film festivals such as IDFA and Sundance. In 2012 the Dutch director Kees Roorda made a theater play inspired by the life of Farah Pahlavi in exile. In the play Liz Snoijink acted as Farah Diba.
Farah had four children with the Shah: Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, Princess Farahnaz Pahlavi, Prince Ali Reza Pahlavi, and Princess Leila Pahlavi.
Currently, Farah Pahlavi is 83 years, 9 months and 30 days old. Farah Pahlavi will celebrate 84th birthday on a Friday 14th of October 2022. Below we countdown to Farah Pahlavi upcoming birthday.