Mohammad Reza Pahlvai Her Imperial Majesty Queen Soraya.

ANSWER: My husband, Mohammad Reza Pahlvai, was Shah of Iran for 37 eventful years. I received that 23 carat ring in 1949 and we married 18 months later. 
Until our divorce in 1958, I was known as Her Imperial Majesty Queen Soraya. 
His reign was marked by unprecedented increases in living standards. Literacy skyrocketed and all children were fed in public schools. 
He banned child marriage, polygamy and segregated education. The Shah never told women how to dress.
He was a wonderful friend of the United States and two of the major boulevards in Tehran were then known as Eisenhower and Kennedy. Of course, that hurt him with fundamentalists. The Shah had a secret police, SAVAK, and there were over 2000 political prisoners. 
Nevertheless, his oppression is minor compared to today. Most of those prisoners were terrorists and they deserved to be in jail. As my husband often said: “When Iranians learn to behave like Swedes, I will behave like the King of Sweden.” 
In my era, Iran was not an Islamic republic and the Shah was always a secular Muslim. 
He was the first Muslim leader to recognize Israel, and to make a state visit to Israel. Oil profits allowed him to build a large military. Half the weapons came from America, and the other half came from Israel. His eldest sister, Princess Shams, proposed to me on his behalf, and decades later we both became Catholics. 
The Shah’s first wife, Princess Fawzia of Egypt, is still alive today at age 89. She hated Tehran and always expressed a preference for Cairo, which continues to be her home. 
As indicated in my 1964 memoir, “Princess Soraya: Autobiography of Her Imperial Highness”, we had a good marriage. The “worst person in the world” who gave me that mink coat was Joseph Stalin. 
The big problem was my inability to become pregnant. The Shah accepted the situation because he had a brother. If I did not have a child, continuation of the Pahlavi dynasty was assured through his brother and his brother’s eventual children. That is the situation in Japan today where the Crown Princess has never had a child. 
One of the worst days of my life was October 17, 1954 when Prince Ali Reza, 32, was killed in a plane crash. The Shah’s brother had never married and there was no heir. We consulted the best doctors in the world but I was infertile. 
I later told “The New York Times” the Shah had no choice but to divorce me. He was crying when he announced our divorce on television in 1958. 
The Shah said he still loved me, and I believed him. He offered to continue our marriage but wanted to take a second wife who could produce an heir. I turned him down. 
I was not yet 26, and I lived until 69, but never remarried. After the divorce I spent the next 44 years in Paris, and never had any financial problems. I did have a serious problem with depression.
For two decades the Shah’s third wife lived near me in Paris, but it was just too painful for me to meet her. Similar to Kate Middleton, many women envied me and the royal lifestyle. What they forget is that there were two attempts to assassinate the Shah, and I suffered from manic depression for four decades. The same illness impacted two of the Shah’s children, and they both committed suicide at a young age. 
My name is Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari (June 22, 1932 – October 26, 2001), Princess of Iran.

Copyright.Historical Trivia Questions by Gregg Hilton. All Rights reserved
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: