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Leila Pahlavi

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Leila Pahlavi
BornFatemeh Pahlavi[1]
(1970-03-27)27 March 1970
Tehran, Imperial State of Iran
Died10 June 2001(2001-06-10) (aged 31)
London, England, UK
Burial16 June 2001
FatherMohammad Reza Pahlavi
MotherFarah Diba

Leila Pahlavi (Persian: لیلا پهلوی, 27 March 1970 – 10 June 2001) was a princess of Iran and the youngest daughter of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, and his third wife, Farah Pahlavi.

Early life

Leila Pahlavi was born on 27 March 1970 in Tehran, Iran. She was the fourth and youngest child of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the Empress Farah Pahlavi.[2] She had two elder brothers, an elder sister and an elder half-sister.[2]

Styles of
Princess Leila of Iran
Reference styleHer Imperial Highness
Spoken styleYour Imperial Highness

In exile

Leila Pahlavi was nine years old when her family was forced into exile as a result of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Following her father's death in Egypt from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1980, the family settled in the United States. She attended the United Nations International School in New York City and graduated from Rye Country Day School in 1988.[3] She spoke Farsi, English, and French fluently, as well as some Spanish and Italian.[3] She spent much of her time commuting between her home in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Paris, where her mother was living.

Pahlavi studied at Brown University literature and philosophy, she was said to have graduated in 1992. [3] However some sources say she left university before graduation due to her declining health.[3] She was a onetime model for the designer Valentino, and suffered from anorexia nervosa, chronic low self-esteem, severe depression[4] and chronic fatigue syndrome.[5]


Grave of Leila Pahlavi in Passy Cemetery, Paris, France

On Sunday 10 June 2001, Leila was found dead in her room in Leonard Hotel in London just before 19:30 BST by her doctor.[6] She was found to have more than five times the lethal dose of Seconal, a barbiturate, which is used to treat insomnia, in her system, along with a nonlethal amount of cocaine.[7] She was found in bed, her body emaciated by years of anorexia, bulimia,[8] and food intolerances.[9] According to a report on her death, which included information from an autopsy conducted by the Westminster Coroner's Court, she stole the Seconal from her doctor's desk during an appointment and was addicted to the drug, typically taking 40 pills at once, rather than the prescribed two.[8]

On 17 June 2001, she was buried near her maternal grandmother, Farideh Diba (née Ghotbi), in the Cimetière de Passy, Paris, France. At the funeral attendance was her mother, Empress Farah; the imperial family of Iran; as well as members of the former French royal family; and Frederic Mitterrand, the nephew of the late French President François Mitterrand.[10]

On 4 January 2011, her brother Ali Reza Pahlavi was found dead at his home in Boston, Massachusetts, from an apparent suicide.[11]



  1. ^ "Exemption from court fees in lawsuits against the heirs and relatives of the deceased king". Islamic Parliament Research Center of The Islamic Republic of IRAN (in Persian). Archived from the original on 18 November 2021. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Late Shah's daughter found dead - June 12, 2001". CNN.com. 12 June 2001. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Burke, Jason (13 October 2001). "Death of a princess". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  4. ^ Sabety, Setareh (19 June 2001). "Diana not: Serious soul-searching about our collective identity crisis". Iranian.com. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
  5. ^ "Leila Pahlavi; Deposed Shah's Daughter". Los Angeles Times. 12 June 2001. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Shah's daughter found dead". BBC News. 12 June 2001. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
  7. ^ Tweedie, Neil (26 July 2001). "Shah's daughter stole to fuel her drug habit". The Times. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  8. ^ a b Tweedie, Neil (26 July 2001). "Shah's daughter stole to fuel her drug habit". Telegraph. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  9. ^ Hewitt, Bill (16 July 2011). "Burden of Grief". people.com. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  10. ^ "Shah's daughter laid to rest". BBC News. 17 June 2001. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
  11. ^ "Son of former shah of Iran commits suicide". CNN. 4 January 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2016.

External links