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Shahbanu (in Persian: شهبانو - Šahbānū) means "Lady of the Shah" in Persian. This often misunderstood to mean '"Empress" in translation into English, but the true Persian meaning does not have the 'ruling' implication that the English word has. It was a title that was only conferred on the third royal consort of Mohammad Reza Shah, Farah Pahlavi, in 1967.
She was the first Shahbanu to be crowned in Iran since the Arab invasion in the 7th century. The two Sassanian Empresses, Purandokht and Azarmidokht, c. 630, were the last two that carried the title before Farah Diba.
The Sasanian title for Shahbanu was bâmbişnân bâmbişn, meaning the Queen of Queens, borne by the monarch's principal wife, to distinguish her from the other queens in the royal household.
Today, HIM Empress Farah is often accorded her title by courtesy, as other countries allow royals to use, informally, titles connected with abolished monarchies, but the title is no longer valid in Iran.
According to pre-revolutionary rules, Yasmine Pahlavi, Crown Princess of Iran, would currently hold this title.