Soraya: Photo postcard of the young Soraya, when she still was an actress.
Princess Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari (Persian: ثریا اسفندیاری بختیاری) (1932 – 2001) was the second wife and Queen Consort of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the late Shah of Iran.
In 1948, Soraya was introduced to the recently divorced Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. At this time Soraya had finished high school in Switzerland and was studying the English language in London. They were soon engaged and the Shah gave her a 22.37 carat (4.474 g) diamond engagement ring.
Soraya married the Shah at Golestan Palace in Tehran on 12 February 1951. Though the Shah announced that guests should donate money to a special charity for the Iranian poor, among the wedding gifts was a mink coat and a desk set with black diamonds sent by Joseph Stalin; a Steuben glass Bowl of Legends designed by Sidney Waugh and sent by U.S. President and Mrs. Truman; and silver Georgian candlesticks from King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and the 2,000 guests included Aga Khan III.
The ceremony was decorated with 1.5 tonnes of orchids, tulips, and carnations, sent by plane from the Netherlands, and entertainment included an equestrian circus sent from Rome. The bride wore a silver lamé gown studded with pearls and trimmed with marabou stork feathers, designed for the occasion by Christian Dior. She also wore a full-length female white-mink cape.
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