Shams Pahlavi

Elder sister of the last Shah of Iran

HousePahlaviFatherReza ShahMotherTadj ol-MoloukReligionRoman Catholicism
(prev. Shia Islam)

Shams Pahlavi (Persian: شمس پهلوی‎; (1917-10-28)28 October 1917 – (1996-02-29)29 February 1996) was an Iranian royal of the Pahlavi dynasty, who 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.



Pahlavi was born in Tehran on 28 October 1917. She was the elder daughter of Reza Shah and his consort Tadj ol-Molouk.

Princess Shams Pahlavi and her husband Mehrdad Pahlbod in 1978

On 8 January 1936, she and her mother and sister played a major symbolic role in the Kashf-e hijab (the abolition of the veil) which was a part of the shah's effort to include women in public society, by participating in the graduation ceremony of the Tehran Teacher's College unveiled.

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.

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. Princess Shams was persuaded to convert to Catholicism by Ernest Perron, the best friend of... more

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