Inaara Aga Khan
|Begum Inaara Aga Khan|
|Begum Inaara Aga Khan in 2006.|
|Spouse||Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen (m.1991-1998)
Aga Khan IV (m.1998-2011)
|Princess Theresa of Leiningen
Prince Aly Muhammad Āgā Khān
|Father||Helmut Friedhelm Homey|
April 1, 1963 |
Frankfurt am Main, West Germany
Begum Inaara Aga Khan (née Gabriele Renate Homey; born 1 April 1963 in Frankfurt am Main), also known as Princess Inaara Aga Khan, is (legally) the second wife of the Aga Khan IV, the 49th Imam of the Nizari branch of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. However, the couple are officially separated and are working out a divorce (see Marriages and children section below).
Begum Inaara, born as Gabriele Renate Homey, is the daughter of a family of successful German entrepreneurs, Renate Thyssen-Henne (née Kerkhoff) and Helmut Friedhelm Homey. Early in life she adopted the surname "Thyssen" name from her stepfather Bodo Thyssen (member of the Thyssen family).
After attending the Schloss Salem School on Lake Constance and the École des Roches in Normandy she read jurisprudence at the Universities of Munich and Cologne. In 1990, Begum Inaara graduated magna cum laude with a doctorate in International Law after completing her thesis on German-American commercial law. Begum Inaara’s early career included working, whilst still at university, in the management of her mother’s company (at the time Austria’s largest hotel and restaurant chain) and later as an associate attorney for a German law firm.
Marriages and children
In 1991 she married Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen in Venice, Italy. After interrupting her career prior to the birth of her daughter, Princess Theresa of Leiningen, who is 115th in line to the throne of the United Kingdom, in April 1992, she became a consultant for UNESCO in Paris, advising on the promotion of equality and improved conditions for women. The marriage between Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen and Princess Gabriele of Leiningen was dissolved early in 1998. She has one child with Prince Karl Emich, a daughter:
- HSH Princess Theresa of Leiningen (born 26 April 1992)
In May 1998, she married Prince Karim Aga Khan (Aga Khan IV), the 49th hereditary Imam of the Nizari branch of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and became the Begum Aga Khan. Prior to her marriage to the Aga Khan IV and her conversion to Islam, the couple jointly chose the Muslim name "Inaara" for the bride. The marriage took place at the Aga Khan's walled compound and chateau, Aiglemont, in Gouvieux, France, on May 30, 1998. However, a little over six years later - on October 8, 2004 - an announcement was made that the Aga Khan and Begum Inaara were to seek a divorce. Begum Inaara (like the Aga Khan's previous wife, Begum Salimah). In September 2011, a divorce settlement was reached and Begum Inaara was to receive a settlement amount of £50 million -. It was revealed in the court that Begum Inaara had hired a private detective to track the Aga Khan's movements with the air hostess. An intra-marriage liaison of the Aga Khan with Beatrice von der Schulenburg, whom the Aga Khan has been close to for five years and whom it is expected the Aga Khan would marry following completion of the divorce with Begum Inaara, was also highlighted by the Begum's lawyers. However, the £50 million settlement was contested by the Aga Khan to France's highest court, shortly after being announced. As a result, divorce proceedings are still ongoing (potentially taking several years to resolve), but, the Aga Khan is said to remain legally married to Begum Inaara in the meantime. By Begum Inaara, the Aga Khan has a son:
- Prince Aly Muhammad Aga Khan (born March 7, 2000)
Since 1999, Begum Inaara has been supporting micro-loans and third world development projects through the German foundation Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe. The foundation funds micro-loans to families and single parents to promote self-reliance and to end the vicious circle of poverty in developing countries, which include Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan, Romania, Thailand and Vietnam.
Begum Inaara has committed time to charitable causes; in particular those involving women’s rights, educational projects and the improvement of opportunities and living conditions for people of all faiths and origins in developing countries. In January 2002, Begum Inaara became the Honorary President of Focus Humanitarian Assistance, the crisis response agency that is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and which provides relief and support services during and following natural and man-made disasters, primarily in Asia and Africa. In this capacity, Begum Inaara supported a number of projects for the repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland and rebuilding civil society in Afghanistan.
In addition the Begum Inaara continued to contribute to numerous UNESCO projects, particularly in the area of welfare for women and children, for example UNESCO's "Passport for Equality" project. Amongst others, she accepted the patronage of the Innocence in Danger Gala event for 2003 in Berlin in order to help victims of child sexual abuse.
Together with her mother Renate Thyssen-Henne and her stepfather Ernst-Theodor Henne, the Princess founded in 2003 the German aid organization "SOS Projects for People and Animals" to help mentally-ill, handicapped and traumatized children with the support of animals, particularly dogs, to bring fun and joy into the children’s lives, and to overcome their pain and suffering.
In order to respond in a more effective way to the above mentioned humanitarian programmes Begum Inaara founded an umbrella organization, The "Princess Inaara Foundation", in 2004. The purpose of the foundation is to provide philanthropic assistance to the causes and charitable organizations whose work represents the humanitarian goals that Begum Inaara has long supported.
In 2009, Begum Inaara became Ambassador for FIFA Football for Hope to promote a high-quality, sustainable social and humanitarian development programme, centred around football, which focuses on the fields of health promotion, peacebuilding, children’s rights and education, anti-discrimination, social integration and the environment.
Begum Inaara’s motto is: “Charity begins in the family”. Being raised in a warm and caring environment, Begum Inaara and her brother, Joachim Thyssen, learned from their mother the values of commitment, courage, fair play and the need to help and protect those who are less fortunate and weak. The Princess and her mother are very close and the Princess regards her as best friend and role model.
One of the Begum Inaara's hobbies is music and singing. During her first years of studies at the LMU University in Munich, she recorded several songs. She enjoys singing now and then for her children, friends and on special occasions.
Awards and recognition
In September, 2006, Begum Inaara was awarded "Reminders Day" award for her commitment, dedication and relentless effort in the fight against HIV and AIDS. The award was presented to her at Berlin's red-brick City Hall by Mayor Klaus Wowereit during the "Reminders Day" ceremony.
In January, 2007, Begum Inaara was named the "No.1" person of German Society according to the German magazine "Gala". Gala wrote "Whereas other women, following separation from their influential husbands, often disappear from society without a trace, Her Highness has catapulted from last year’s 19th position to first position. She has maintained her commitment to charitable work and stylish appearance and not said a single unkind word about her husband, the Aga Khan"
Names and titles from birth
- 1963-?: Gabriele Renate Homey
- ?-1990: Gabriele Renate Thyssen
- 1990-1991: Dr. jur. Gabriele Renate Thyssen
- 1991-1998: Her Serene Highness Princess Gabriele Renate of Leiningen
- 1998-Present: Her Highness The Begum Aga Khan
- Princess Inaara Foundation
- Leppard, David; Winnett, Robert (November 21, 2004). "Aga Khan faces the $1 billion divorce". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved November 21, 2008.
- Hollingsworth, Mark (March 2011). "Aga in Waiting". ES Magazine. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Samuel, Henry (January 12, 2012). "Morning Herald".
- Kay, Richard. "Third time lucky for Aga Khan?". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- "Aga Khan appeals wife's bumper divorce payout". AFP. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
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