HIM The Shah of Iran and Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari
February 12, 1951
A reader request today, for one of the most fairy tale royal wedding gowns of all time, worn by a royal bride that ended up living a fairy tale gone wrong.
diamond engagement ring.
Seeing her stagger, the Shah ordered a lady-in-waiting to take a pair of scissors to the priceless gown and cut the petticoats and train until she could walk again. She also had to deal with the chill in the non-heated palace; there were wool socks underneath that voluminous skirt.
Seven years later, the Shah and his Queen found themselves in a predicament: Soraya had not been able to have children, and the Shah needed a son to continue the dynasty (he had one daughter with his first wife, but a boy was required). In 1958, the Shah tearfully announced their divorce. It was "a sacrifice of my own happiness," Soraya said. Given the title HIH Princess Soraya of Iran and generous funding, she lived the rest of her life as a jet-setting socialite in Europe, but she never managed to find real happiness. Even a romance with director Franco Indovina ended tragically with his death in a plane crash. Soraya became known as the "princess with the sad eyes" and titled her memoir Le Palais des Solitudes, or The Palace of Solitude. She died on October 26, 2001; her belongings were auctioned off and that famous wedding gown sold for $1.2 million.
The Shah married again, to Farah Diba, and had four children including two boys. The Shah was exiled in 1979 and the heir he fought to have has never had the opportunity to rule Iran.
What did you think of Soraya's gown?