ROYALTY: Princess Leila Pahlavi (March 27, 1970 – June 10, 2001)


ROYALTY: Princess Leila Pahlavi (March 27, 1970 – June 10, 2001)
by Darius Kadivar

The Late Princess Leila and her brother Crown Prince Reza on a Tennis Court in Niavaran Palace (1977-78). A onetime model for the designer Valentino. She was nine years old when her family was forced into exile as a result of the Iranian Revolution.  Princess Leila Pahlavi was the youngest daughter of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, and his third wife, Farah Pahlavi. She was nine years old when her family was forced into exile as a result of the Iranian Revolution. She suffered from anorexia nervosa, chronic low self-esteem, and severe depression and spent much time being treated in clinics in the United States and Britain. She was found dead in her room in the Leonard Hotel in London, England on June 10, 2001.

Tears in Heaven-Eric Clapton:

Layla-Eric Clapton:

Recommended Readings:

Remembering Princess Leila Pahlavi by DK 

Crown of Lilies by Cyrus KADIVAR (

Crown Jewel by Reza Bayegan (



more from Darius Kadivar

kei: you have fallen for the propaganda, badly!

by Shahabi (not verified) on

You said; I would like to hear from a poor family and see what their view of the time period is because there were many many more of them than the wealthy (as there are today). was the use of savaak and the influence of the cia in iran not like etela'at?
I CAN speak to that: yes there were poor families, but were coming out of poverty rapidly because there were OPPORTUNITIES free for ALL. Many, like myself, in my (not well to do) family went through education as first generation in their family for free. That was the biggest contribution of the shah to iran. Most pessimistic views attest to pahlavis (father and son) raising literacy from mid single-digit during Qajar to mid-high double digit in 1979. That by itself was a BIG contribution.

As for savak, nobody would run into them unless he would actively and openly oppose the rule of the shah. Savak overlooking all, all the time, is a myth and a flat lie by those who claimed he had 300,000+ political prisoners. The actual number turned out to be some one hundred time lower, amongst whom were likes of Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Massoud Rajavi, ...

Being a colony is yet another myth. What did shah exactly do that you call iran a colony? I mean exactly, without slogans? International relations are games of give and take, and he certainly took far more than he gave. He sold oil at premium price -- recent documents from during ford and nixon indicate their displeasure by shah's control of opec to raise prices. Shah had some 50,000 students only in US educated in 1979. That was worth any price that he was paying.

Shah's faults: lack of political freedom and opposition to his reign, petty corruptions, and total lack of skill in propaganda. But could he progress the country with political freedom? Maybe yes, maybe no. There were nasty characters amongst iranian opposition that wanted nothing less replacing the shah.

Those who opposed the shah, as we saw in the last 30 years, were MOSTLY objecting to shah because THEY wanted to be in charge, otherwise they were worse dictators than shah ever was; left, islamists, and intellectuals alike; otherwise they had 30 years to prove themselves otherwise. With the exception of the few who supported Bakhtiar, the rest proved to be criminals and traitors imprisoned by the shah.

As for his popularity, I suggest that you make a visit to iran and ask ordinary people (outside well-to-do elite and ultra religious) to see how a large majority long for his period and talk of him with respect, but criticize him for leaving iran and handing iran to mullas.

You can throw lots of 70s slogans and propaganda at him, but you can provide very little evidence. So, your hatred of him is 5% justified but 95% under the influence of what you have heard from unreliable sources around you. I paraphrase Ganji and Baghi, that all that they were saying against the shah were lies and exaggerations:

Example 1: shah had killed 600,000 (claimed by khomeini); Baghi claims the real number is about 383.

Example 2: shah stole $56 Billion (claimed by khomeini). NO proof whatsoever has been found except that that number has been gradually lowered to single-digit billions of dollars. IRI is said to have spend $18M to locate his assets with no success.

You are under the influence of propaganda, with little justification, if any. Your cruelty towards a totally innocent girl simply because his father was the shah is shameful and inhumane, and we know where that blanket hatred led us in 1979.

As for mosaddeq: iranians turn any loser into a saint and do not like rule of law and do not respect authority, let he be Emam hussein or mohamad mosaddeq. Mosaddeq staged a coup and shahis countered that. If you believe in rule of law, the then constitution of iran placed shah above the PM and mosaddeq had absolutely NO legal right to dismiss the shah or the parliament that did not favor him. But that is a long story by itself. And if you do not believe in rule of law, then anything goes.


thanks for the response, i'm

by keivonk on

thanks for the response, i'm off to work so I can't read it all right now

Darius Kadivar


by Darius Kadivar on

It was NOT a Totalitarian Rule. There is a distinction to be made between A Totalitarian State, a dictatorship and an Authoritarian rule. The Reign of Reza Shah was a dictatorship but that of Mohamed Reza was an Authoritarian Rule. You want to know what it was like to live in those days you simply needs to go on vacation to Morroco or even Turkey today. Niether of these countries are Totalitarian and yet they are not democracies.

Yes the most Royalist people were actually the poor and un privaledged population. One may think this bizarre today because you live in a Western Society probably and that we live in a much more open society and should I say world today with the type of access to the Internet and World News and medias today.

I belonged to a Middle Class family and attended an international community school and most of my classmates came from similar or less priviledged backgrounds. We had American and Persian teachers and they coped very well until the revolution.

When the Revolution started I was surprised to see that one of the staunchest Pro Shah's were the workers in our school who were Ghashgais ( we lived in Shiraz) and who hated the mullahs. We had a driver ( nothing eccentric in Iran in those day, and we did not havea Rolls Royce but a simple Fiat) who would drive us to school in the morning and he also hated the mullahs, same for a gardner who would come to do some part time  work in our house.

Many were religious by Faith but did not like the mullahs. And our gardner said I owe everything to the Shah because of the White Revolution. When he had started working at our place in the early 70's he used to come on a motor cycle, by the mid 70's he was driving in a car which was even more sophisticated Mercedese Benz that the one my father ( who was a surgeon) used to drive ( a Fiat)  to go to work at the Hospital.

I would even recommend you to read Mansour Bahrami the Tennis Champ memoires. He came from one of the poorest families you can imagine and yet he speaks so fondly of the Shah's era and the luck he had to live in that period and benefit from the chance of improving his life and fullfilling his dream as a sportsman and later tennis Champ.

He came from the type of social background and even far less priviledged than our gardner or driver. REALLY POOR with old parents who had no education and two brothers he had to help to feed the family. But he is not namak nashnas like some of the Iranian Revolutionaries who would shout Islamic slogans but could not give up on Alcohol.

THAT HYPOCRISY was VERY Common amongst alot of my fathers colleagues who had never read the Koran and began practicing shortly when the tide started turning.

Farrokhzad denounced this hypocrisy of Revolutionaries the best:

People were progressing both socially and economically. When I say people were not interested in Politics, I mean that Politics was not something that passionately divided people as it did afterwards. But yes the intellectuals like teachers or students (particularly those who had left Iran to study with their pension from the government fully paid) were frustrated. Not just for not having freedom but often because they were faced with a culture clash with the west.

I remember as a kid fearing to ever go abroad to university in Europe or the US because I would see these TV series  like Fame or films like "Greese" or "Saturday Night Fever" which would show young adults smoking pot and drinking all night and even fearing that they would force us to sexual depravity. It makes me laugh today but in those days society was traditional and so such contradictions were often troubling. People were protected in many ways from much of the side effects of freedom as the Westerners used to enjoy. We felt we may not have had all the priviledges and technology or even climate as in Europe or America but at least we felt protected and cared for by the government.

I don't think it is any different today in Morroco and yet no one is speaking of Revolution over there.Simply because they learned from the disastor we went through.

I even can say that People in general were much more generous and kind to one another than today. Maybe life was less sophisticated but people were much more happy. Sure you had poor people and marginals like in every society. But the social mindset was much more tolerant than it became after the revolution.

Ironically people in Iran today are much more informed on what is going on in the world including in the most remote villiage than in those days in the city but they are a 1000 times less free. Prostitution, Drug addiction, moral and spiritual corruption is Rampant. People hardly have any positive Role Model. Its tragic to see that society now have to work 100 times more just to benefit from the basic rights that we enjoyed fully in those days. No one would meddle in your private life or tell you how you should dress or look or how to make love to your wife.

You need to understand the psychology of a nation that had been united for centuries by a monarch. To insult the Shah was like insulting your flag. Obviously it was a mindset that was shaped by State Propaganda but that was the case for All the countries surrounding us and beyond throughout the Middle East. And Yet we were living much better and with an economic perspective that was promising for the future generations. It Was NOT FRANCE under Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI telling the people go and eat pancakes if they were hungry ...

THAT STEREOTYPED IMAGE WAS FAR FROM THE TRUTH but the Western Press played on this "imagery" by exploiting the negative impression that the Celebrations in Persepolis had left on the World Media.

Americans were jealous to see such a display of luxury and even pride when they were going through Vietnam. France had gone through May 68 and all these left wing intellectuals were immediately making parrallels with the French Revolutionary ideas and reducing the regime to an "image" rather than even trying to see what was accomplished.

Most of these Western Journalists could hardly speak Iranian and became experts on Iran but could hardly put Iran on a Map in those days. Honestly. We had to wait for the Persian Gulf War under Bush Sr. and then during his son's disastrous Presidency to see people recognize where Iraq is or where Iran is without confusing them.

Anyway I don't feel like dwelling in endless debates on this issue. You are Young and the future in front of you. All I can say is that things are not as simple or obvious as they may seem.

History is Always two sided. The key is to try and learn from it belongs to no one. We can all dig into that past and based on our own experience draw conclusions that can help us move forward. But I think that to judge it one has to try and look at it with some objective distance and compare what people from both sides have to say:

You had Good and Bad People on both sides ...

The role of a Historian is not to judge but try and understand. Which does not mean you cannot have a point of view. You have yours, I respect it but I also have mine. I don't claim to be right, I just claim the right to be opiniated.

Too late here to carry on the conversation sorry. Got to go to bed. Maybe another time

Good night,



when you say most people

by keivonk on

when you say most people loved the royal family, are you referring to the economically privileged "most" or the general population? Can I ask if you were a poor or relatively well off Iranian during the shah's time? I would like to hear from a poor family and see what their view of the time period is because there were many many more of them than the wealthy (as there are today). was the use of savaak and the influence of the cia in iran not like etela'at?

I think socially and internationally iran was much better off then, than under this regime, to argue against that is insane. but if the current regime gave the control of iran's oil to the u.s. or u.k. , i'm sure relations would be much different. So there was a cost being paid for the freedom that some were able to enjoy during that time. andin your own words people didn't care about politics, so why shouldn't they love the royalty? making the argument that only intelectuals were against them is like saying only the smart people in america didn't like bush...

The similarity I see is that the distance between the haves and have-nots is still extremely far, and the people at the top are misusing power to rob the country. also neither regime alows the dissident's voice to be heard.

I just hate to see the pahlavi's made into something to be desired as leaders and to think that propoganda alone caused the revolution seems naive. obviously people were enraged, unfortunately they were lead to an even worse disaster which is the current government. 

what we need is to acknowledge that being a very nice and modern colony isn't right, being in control of resources but subjected to totalitarian rule isn't right either, revolutions never work, outside influence never helps, I don't really have a solution but getting those out of the way has to help. 

Darius Kadivar


by Darius Kadivar on

I thought so.

Based on my personal experience and having lived at that time, I can say very frankly: NO COMPARISON between the two regimes.

But I do not claim it was a democracy but if you want to have an idea of what it was like living in Iran during the Shah's time all you have to do is visit Morroco(A Monarchy)  or Tunisia ( a Republic) today. You could buy the foreign press even if it criticized the Shah.

They are Not democracies but people are not miserable or oppressed as in a totalitarian state.

As for the Mossadegh era, Mossadegh was not struggling for Democracy but Oil nationalization. One can claim that the two were related but we already had a Parlimentary system so I think that he was not very wise to rush the events and put the blame on the Royal Institution. But I did not live at that periode and not many were truly adults at the time to claim knowledge on what happened other than in books and testimonies. Even Shirin Ebadi was not old enough at the time: She was born in 1947 which means she was 6 years old at the time ...

Before the Crisis and what some call the Coup ( and lets admit it was a Coup otherwise it will be an endless debate ) the Shah reigned as a Constitutional Monarch for 12 years like in Europe without ever interfering in the affairs of the State.

But we have the tendency to look at that Era as if even America at the Time was a Perfect democracy which is totally false. America was going through some dramatic changes such as Maccarthyism and at the same Period Russia was sending anyone who opposed Stalin to the Goulags.

By the 70's things became much more liberal in everyday life in Iran and people were benefiting from both the Oil Boom and more freedom. You could travel everywhere and not have to worry about having a Visa to visit any Democratic country.

 Was Iran a democracy for that Matter ?I would say not like in Europe or America but certainly No More no less than Turkey today.

So I think it is important to try and understand a periode before judging it from a moral or should I say moralistic point of view. Which does not mean we need to go back to the same practices or behaviors.

As for the Royal family: Most People Loved them before the Islamist Propaganda took over. That is something I can vouch for and anyone who claims the contrary was probably a political activist.Most people didn't care about politics at the time except in some intellectual or university circles. Most simply wanted their kids to graduate go to the Universities in Europe or the States and come back to build their country.

Thats what most did and the kids came back as Revolutionaries ...

We saw the result I am afraid ...




I speak based on what people

by keivonk on

I speak based on what people who were alive during that time, some of which participated in the revolution and many others who didn't, have told me. I don't value reading about it as much as hearing personal accounts because history tends to be distorted by the victors. But if you are trying to open debate on the time period of Mosadegh and the Shah, I think the facts are pretty clear on what took place.

Theocracy is a form of monarchy masked in religion. I'm assuming you were alive during the shah's time, do you not see any similarities in the sense of power, control, money, etc beween the two governments? Or am I totally of base here?

Darius Kadivar

keivonk ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Thank you for sharing your opinion.

Just Curious, How Old are you ? Generation wise I mean. Not trying to belittle you but how old were you when the Revolution happened ? Are you speaking based on your personal experience knowledge or what you have read in general on that Era ?





by keivonk on

Tears in heaven for someone who had all the wealth and luxury in the world? Daughter of a ruthless monarchy that was giving away our country to foreign powers?

I know it is hard not to romanticise life under the Shah, but obviously some bad things happened that lead to a revolution. No one wants to be colonized, no matter how nice it seems compared to life under the current regime. 

I have zero sympathy for royalty, they are the opposite end of the same spectrum that the mullahs are on. THEIVES!