Inaara Aga Khan

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Princess Gabriele of Leiningen
The former Begum Inaara Aga Khan in 2006.
Born Gabriele Renate Homey
(1963-04-01) April 1, 1963 (age 54)
Frankfurt am Main, West Germany
Spouse Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen (m.1991-1998)
Aga Khan IV (m.1998-2011)
Issue Princess Theresa of Leiningen
Prince Aly Muhammad Āgā Khān
Father Helmut Friedhelm Homey
Mother Renate Thyssen-Henne
Religion Nizari Ismaili Shia Islam

Begum Inaara Aga Khan is the former name and title of Princess Gabriele of Leiningen (born 1 April 1963 in Frankfurt am Main), also previously known as Princess Inaara Aga Khan, and was the second wife of the Aga Khan IV, the 49th Imam of the Nizari branch of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. From May 1998 to March 2014, Gabriele was married to Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, the 49th Imam (religious leader) of the Ismailis and held the title Begum Aga Khan during the marriage.[1]


Early life[edit]

Begum Inaara, born as Gabriele Renate Homey, is the daughter of a family of successful German entrepreneurs, Renate Thyssen-Henne (de; fr) (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, Gabriele graduated magna cum laude with a doctorate in International Law after completing her thesis on German-American commercial law. Her 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[edit]

From (L) to (R) Musa Javed Chohan, Naela Chohan, the Aga Khan, Begum Inaara Aga Khan, and Sahibzada Yaqub Khan in Paris (2002).

In 1991 she married Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen in Venice, Italy. She has one child with Prince Karl Emich, a daughter:

After interrupting her career prior to the birth of her daughter, Princess Gabriele 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 Gabriele Thyssen was dissolved early in 1998.

In May 1998, she married Prince Karim Aga Khan (subsequently 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 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. She has a son:

  • Prince Aly Muhammad Aga Khan (born March 7, 2000).

However, a little over six years after the marriage - on October 8, 2004 - an announcement was made that the Aga Khan and Begum Inaara were to seek a divorce.[2][3] Begum Inaara (like the Aga Khan's previous wife, Begum Salimah[4]).[5] In September 2011, a divorce settlement was reached[6] and Begum Inaara was to receive a settlement amount of £50 million -.[5] It was revealed in the court that she had hired a private detective to track the Aga Khan's movements with an air hostess. An extra-marital 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.[5] However, the £50 million settlement was contested by the Aga Khan in 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 his second wife in the meantime.[7]

In April 2016, it was announced that part of Begum Inaara's jewellery collection was to be auctioned by Christie's. [8]

Charitable activities[edit]

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 cycle 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, the Begum supported a number of projects for the repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland and rebuilding civil society in Afghanistan.

In addition she 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.[9] Amongst others, she accepted the patronage of the Innocence in Danger[10] Gala event for 2003 in Berlin in order to help victims of child sexual abuse.

Together with her mother and stepfather, Ernst-Theodor Henne, Gabriele founded in 2003 the German aid organization "SOS Projects for People and Animals"[11] 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.

Since 2004, Begum Inaara has become intensively involved in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic and supports the German AIDS Foundation.[12]

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",[13] 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 an ambassador for FIFA Football for Hope to promote a high-quality, sustainable social and humanitarian development programme, centred on football, which focuses on the fields of health promotion, peace building, children’s rights and education, anti-discrimination, social integration and the environment.[14]

Awards and recognition[edit]

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.[15]

In January, 2007, she was named the "No.1" person of German Society by the German magazine "Gala",[16] which 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[edit]

  • 1963-?: Miss Gabriele Renate Homey
  • ?-1990: Miss Gabriele Renate Thyssen
  • 1990-1991: Dr. Gabriele Renate Thyssen
  • 1991-1998: Her Serene Highness Princess Gabriele Renate of Leiningen
  • 1998–2014: Her Highness The Begum Aga Khan
  • 2014-Present: Dr. Gabriele Renate Inaara Prinzessin zu Leiningen

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gabriele Renate Inaara Princess of Leiningen". Princess Inaara Foundation. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Princess Inaara Foundation
  3. ^ Leppard, David; Winnett, Robert (November 21, 2004). "Aga Khan faces the $1 billion divorce". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved November 21, 2008. 
  4. ^ Hollingsworth, Mark (March 2011). "Aga in Waiting" (PDF). ES Magazine. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Samuel, Henry (January 12, 2012). "Morning Herald". 
  6. ^ Kay, Richard (3 October 2011). "Third time lucky for Aga Khan?". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Aga Khan appeals wife's bumper divorce payout". AFP. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Kadakia, Rahul. "Fit for a Princess". Christies. 
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