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    * Queen Sorayya *

    Soraya Esfandiari,Sureyya

    ثریا اسفندیاری

    Sorayya Esfandiari-Bakhtiari (June, 22 1932 – Oct, 26 2001) was the second wife and Queen Consort of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the late Shah of Iran.Though her husband's title, Shahanshah (King of Kings), is the equivalent of Emperor, it was not until 1967 that a complementary feminine title: Shahbanou, was created to designate the wife of a Shah. Until then, wives of Shahs, including Sorayya, bore the title Malekeh.Born in Isfahan, Iran, Sorayya Esfandiari was the eldest child and only daughter of Khalil Esfandiari, a noble of the Bakhtiari tribe of southern Iran who was the Iranian ambassador to West Germany in the 1950s—and his Russian-born German wife, Eva Karl. She had one sibling, a younger brother, Bijan.Her family had long been involved in the Iranian government and diplomatic corps. An uncle, Sardar Asad, was a leader in the Iranian constitutional movement of the early 20th century.In 1948, Sorayya was introduced to the recently divorced Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in Paris, by Forough Zafar Bakhtiari, a relative, when she was still a student at a Swiss finishing school. They were soon engaged (Shah gave her a 22.37 carat (4.474 g) diamond engagement ring).Sorayya married the Shah at Golestan Palace in Tehran on Feb, 12 1951; originally, the couple had planned to wed on Dec, 27 1950, but the ceremony had to be postponed due to the bride being ill.Though the Shah announced that guests should donate money to a special charity for the Iranian poor, among the wedding gifts was a mink coat and a desk set with black diamonds sent by Joseph Stalin; a Steuben glass Bowl of Legends designed by Sidney Waugh and sent by U.S. President and Mrs. Truman; and silver Georgian candlesticks from King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and the 2,000 guests included Aga Khan III (48th Imam of the Shiite Ismaili Muslims).The ceremony was decorated with 1.5 tons of orchids, tulips, and carnations, sent by plane from the Netherlands, and entertainment included an equestrian circus sent from Rome. The bride wore a silver gown studded with pearls and trimmed with marabou stork feathers, designed for the occasion by Christian Dior. She also wore a full-length female white-mink cape.Though the wedding took place during a heavy snow, deemed a good omen, the imperial couple's marriage had disintegrated by early 1958 owing to Sorayya's apparent infertility, for which she had sought treatment in Switzerland and France, and the Shah's suggestion that he take a second wife in order to produce an heir. She left Iran in February and eventually went to her parents' home in Cologne, Germany, where the Shah sent his wife's uncle, Senator Sardar Asad Bakhtiari in early March, 1958, in a failed attempt to convince her to return to Iran. On March,10 , a council of advisors met with the Shah to discuss the situation of the troubled

    Tags:Bakhtiari, Christian, Esfandiari, France, German, Germany, Golestan, Imam, Iran, Iranian, Isfahan, Ismaili, Khan, Netherlands, Pahlavi, Paris, President, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Sorayya, Reza Pahlavi, Rome, Russian, Sardar Asad, Shah, Shah of Iran, Shahanshah, Shiite, Sorayya, Stalin, Swiss, Switzerland, Tehran, Truman, West Germany

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