Shams Pahlavi

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Princess Shams
Born(1917-10-28)28 October 1917
Tehran, Persia
Died29 February 1996(1996-02-29) (aged 78)
Santa Barbara, United States
Santa Barbara Cemetery[1]
SpouseFereydoun Djam (m. 1937; div. 1944)
Mehrdad Pahlbod (m. 1945; w. 1996)
IssuePrince Shahbaz Pahlbod
Prince Shahyar Pahlbod
Princess Shahrazad Pahlbod
Full name
English: Shams ul-Mulk
Persian: شمس الملوک
FatherReza Shah
MotherTadj ol-Molouk
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Princess Shams Pahlavi (Persian: شمس پهلوی‎; (1917-10-28)28 October 1917 – (1996-02-29)29 February 1996) was the elder sister of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran. During her brother's reign she was the president of the Red Lion and Sun Society.[2]

Early life[edit]

Princess Shams was born in Tehran on 28 October 1917.[3] She was the elder daughter of Reza Shah and his consort Tadj ol-Molouk.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Princess Shams Pahlavi and her husband Mehrdad Pahlbod in 1978

Shams Pahlavi married Fereydoun Djam, son of then-prime minister of Iran Mahmoud Djam, under strict orders from her father in 1937, but the marriage was an unhappy one and the couple divorced immediately after the death of Reza Shah.[3]

Following the deposition of Reza Shah after the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in 1941, Shams accompanied her father during his exile to Port Louis, Mauritius, and later Johannesburg, South Africa, and published her memoir of this trip in monthly installments in the Ettela'at newspaper in 1948.

She was deprived of her ranks and titles for a brief period of time after her second marriage to Mehrdad Pahlbod, and lived in the United States from 1945 to 1947. Later, a reconciliation with the court was achieved and the couple returned to Tehran only to leave again during the upheavals of the Abadan Crisis. She converted to Roman Catholicism in the 1940s.[4] Princess Shams was persuaded to convert to Catholicism by Ernest Perron, the best friend of the Shah.[5] Her husband and children adopted Catholicism after her.

After returning to Iran following the 1953 coup which reestablished the rule of her brother, she maintained a low public profile, contrary to that of her sister Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, and confined her activities to the management of the vast fortune she inherited from her father.

In the late 1960s she commissioned the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation architects to build her the Morvarid Palace in Mehrshahr near Karaj, and Villa Mehrafarin in Chalous, Mazandaran.

She left Iran for the United States after the Islamic Revolution and died of cancer on her Santa Barbara estate in 1996.

Santa Barbara Estate, 1981, California.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Find a Grave
  2. ^ Sharif, Mehdi (24 June 2002). "I cannot blame them". The Iranian. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Shams Pahlavi". Fouman. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  4. ^ Azimi, Fakhreddin (30 June 2009). QUEST FOR DEMOCRACY IN IRAN C: A century of struggle against authoritarian rule. ISBN 9780674020368.
  5. ^ Milani , Abbas The Shah , London: Macmillan , 2011 page 49.

External links[edit]

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Chairwoman of the Iranian Red Lion and Sun Society
Succeeded by
Kazem Sami