Almost two hundred select members from Washington’s most respected and fashionable families gathered at the Potomac, Maryland, home of renowned philanthropist and Chairwoman Extraordinaire Annie Totah, to welcome the Empress and her Royal Family with an evening of conversation, fine cuisine – and a little reminiscing. To highlight the Queen’s life, pictures and paintings greeted the guests in the reception areas of Totah’s home. They each represented carefully selected, historical moments, showcasing the Empress’ achievements while sharing the Peacock Throne with her husband Shāhanshāh (Emperor) Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
“Growing up in Lebanon,” Totah began, “I was always fascinated with the Empress. Everything about her I wanted to know – what she wore, what charities she supported, and what she did to enhance the opportunities for her many subjects. I saw her as the Great Lady behind the ruler of the several-thousand-year-old Persian Empire. She was what Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana of Wales were for their followers: The People’s Queen! Today I see her, as many of her subjects do, as the woman whose children one day may bring secular democracy to the Imperial State of Iran and allow all the wonderful things she had done before the 1979 revolution to blossom once again.”
The Empress’ son, His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, and his wife Princess Yasmine also had their special tribute. “She has persevered as a strong mother figure,” the Crown Prince said. “Despite the tragedies in her life, she surmounted each one gracefully with fortitude and dignity. For millions of her people, her lifetime work was a source of inspiration, because it offered them new directions and new opportunities.”