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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

7 - Queen, Working Mother, and the Making of the Royal Family

from Part II - Agents of Correlation and Change


This chapter explores the media image of the royal family and the monarchy’s crises of legitimacy by focusing on the Shah’s third wife, Queen Farah Pahlavi, who played out many of the internal contradictions embodied by the modern woman of the Pahlavi state’s modernized patriarchy. Her public representations, both in the national and foreign media, crafted her image as a mediator between traditionalism and modernity, Iranianess and globalization. Different sets of representations presented Farah Pahlavi as a young capable woman who managed both family and public voluntary obligations, while personifying a modern "middle-class" Iranian woman and mother, alongside her promotion as an international celebrity. Appraising the propagation of the former Iranian queen, the Shah and the royal Pahlavi family by crosschecking both the local and international press, sheds additional light on the fading image of the Iranian monarchy, and on the complex nature of cultural contact and exchange between Iran and the West.