Following the Coronation of the Shah, it was time for the most unprecedented moment, the Coronation of the Empress of Iran, the Shahbanou. New history was about to be made as Empress Farah placed herself facing the bejewelled and magnificent Naderi Throne, upon which sat, in dramatic splendour, her husband, the Shah of Iran. A white and gold cushion was placed n front of the Throne. Empress Farah’s impressive white dress sparkled brilliantly in the very coloured ceremony and it seemed as if the scene had been taken from the Middle Age, when the wife, in all possible simplicity, was coming forward to pay tribute to her husband, who sat in coloured magnificence.
But the Empress also symbolised the role the Shah wanted women to have in the Iranian society. Not only was she the first Queen of Iran to be crowned, she also had seen the Constitution changed to allow her to be named Regent of the Empire in the case of the Shah’s death before the majority of the Crown Prince. And moments later, the white splendour of the Shahbanou would become as coloured as the Shah’s. Her maids of honour brought from behind the Throne the most superb robe, possibly the most amazing that had ever been made. The Shah remained seated and the Empress standing. The maids of honour placed the heavily splendorous robe on the shoulders of the Shahbanou and she kneeled.
It was the most striking and charming scene of the day. Josephine had kneeled in front of her most august husband, the Emperor of the French, wearing a magnificent robe; Farah was kneeling in front of her beloved and most august husband, the Shah of Iran, the King of the Kings, the Aryamehr, wearing a spectacular robe. The eyes of the room, the eyes of the city, the eyes of the country, the eyes of the world, were fixed upon those two persons. The husband then rose from his Throne and placed the Imperial Sceptre in the cushion offered to him. A member of the Imperial Household brought the cushion over which laid the Empress of Iran’s Crown and presented it to the Shah.
Everyone held breaths, it were 11.12 am. His Imperial Majesty then took the magnificent crown in his hands and held it briefly, before placing it over his wife’s bare head. The emotion was clear to be seen in the face of the Shah and it could be felt not only among those closest to him but also in all those who witnessed and called it the coronation of the love of those two persons. Most people perhaps felt that, more than the Shah and the Shahbanou, they were the husband and the wife, who were living a second wedding, between themselves and between each of them and their country, the Empire of Iran.
The Shah then gave his hand to his wife and helped her to rise, which she slowly did, with all the imaginable grace. The Shahbanou looked dramatically superb, every inch an empress, but quite an Oriental one. The design of both her robe and her crown gave her a very Iranian look, and at the same time one that had never been imagine, for few could imagine such a striking and prominently beautiful sight. While the Shah regained the height of his Throne, the Shahbanou returned, now the first Persian Queen ever crowned, to her chair, on her husband’s right and very close to her step-daughter, Princess Shahnaz, who wept openly, and her daughter, Princess Farahnaz, who didn’t stop bothering her sister and aunts.
It was then time for another important moment of the Coronation ceremony: the presentation of the Crown Prince. In 1926, Reza Shah the Great, having crowned himself with the new Imperial Crown that had been created for him, had presented his son, the six-and-a-half years old Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, as the new Crown Prince of the millenary Persian Empire. On the 26th October 1967, Mohamed Reza’s son, Reza Cyrus Pahlavi, only a few days before his seventh birthday, was himself proclaimed heir of a millenary and remarkably enormous Empire.
It was said that, for weeks, Prince Reza Cyrus had repeated the scenes of what would be his parents’ coronation, pretending himself to be the Shah, who crowned himself, afterwards crowning his sister Princess Farahnaz, as if she were the Empress, and then presenting his 19-month old brother Prince Ali Reza as the Crown Prince! Thing were for real now and the Shah pronounced the expected words with great solemnity: “I present unto you the Crown Prince!” And quite solemnly, Crown Prince Reza Cyrus, the heir of Cyrus the Great, King of King’s Empire raised from his chair and stood, aware of the importance of that solemn moment in the middle of that solemnly magnificent ceremony.