Ira­nian princess dies at age 96


Ira­nian Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sis­ter of the coun­try’s de­posed shah whose glam­orous life epit­o­mized the ex­cesses of her brother’s rule, has died af­ter decades in ex­ile. She was 96.

Many in Iran be­fore the coun­try’s 1979 Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion be­lieved Princess Ashraf served as the true power be­hind her brother, Shah Mo­ham­mad Reza Pahlavi, and pushed him into tak­ing power in a 1953 coup en­gi­neered by the U.S.

Im­mor­tal­ized in her royal prime by an Andy Warhol por­trait with bright red lips and raven-black hair, Princess Ashraf ’s years out of power more re­sem­bled a Shake­spearean tragedy. As­sas­sins killed her son on a Paris street just af­ter the Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion, her twin brother died of can­cer shortly af­ter, while a niece died of a 2001 drug over­dose in Lon­don and a nephew killed him­self in Bos­ton 10 years later.

Still, she al­ways de­fended her brother’s rule and held onto her royal past.

“At night, when I go into my room, that’s when all the thoughts come flood­ing in,” the princess told The As­so­ci­ated Press in a 1983 in­ter­view in Paris. “I stay up un­til 5 or 6 in the morn­ing. I read, I watch a cas­sette, I try not to think. But the mem­o­ries won’t leave you.”

Reza Pahlavi, a son of the shah, an­nounced his aunt’s death in a Face­book post on Thurs­day night.

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