Who was Princess Qajar?
Persian princess of the Qajar Dynasty Taj al-Saltaneh – or Zahra Khanom – was born in Tehran, Persia in 1884; her exact date of birth hasn’t been disclosed to this day, but it’s believed that her zodiac sign was Sagittarius. She was a memoirist, women’s rights activist and feminist, and is perhaps remembered best for having been King of Persia Naser al-Din Shah Qajar’s daughter, who ruled from 1848 through May 1896, and for having been Abolqassem Aref Qazvini’s love interest.
Education and early life
Most of what is known about Princess Qajar’s life is only thanks to her memoirs; she was raised in Tehran, where she had slaves and wet nurses. She was either 11 or 12 when her father was assassinated, later writing that she understood why people wanted him dead.
Aristocrat Sardar Hassan and Princess Qajar were married when she was only 13 years old; he was the son of Shojah al-Taltaneh, a Persian defense minister and one of the most respected people in Persia at that time; Princess Qajar and Sardar had four children together, and she eventually chose to divorce him in 1900, becoming the first member of a royal family to divorce her husband, and thus breaking a taboo that women should not divorce their husbands.
After the divorce
Princess Qajar divorced her husband because he often slept with other women, and because he was unhappy when she chose to have an abortion – giving birth to another child could have led to her death.
She focused on raising her granddaughter Taj Iran, reading and writing after the divorce. Princess Qajar was fluent in both French and Arabic, and could play the violin; she was also a painter, and believed that all women should receive good education, which was why she held literary gatherings at her home every week. Princess Qajar wore western clothes and took off her hijab, but other women were afraid to show support for her actions, and Princess Qajar thus stood alone in public.
She founded the Women’s Freedom Association, an Iran’s underground women’s rights group; the women began gathering at secret locations in 1910, and fought for women’s equal rights.
Princess Qajar also fought against slavery; she was raised by African slaves, but believed that all slaves should be freed.
Princess Qajar, Nasir al-Din's daughter. pic.twitter.com/4L9WcUY2Br
— Nadifa Mohamed (@thesailorsgirl) December 27, 2017
Princess Qajar’s book “From the Harem to Modernity: Memoirs of a Persian Princess 1884 – 1914” were published in 1996; they were translated by Amin Neshati and Anna Vanzan, and were edited by Abbas Amanat. The book was praised by various critics, with newspapers “The Middle East Journal” and “Times Literary Supplement” writing about how the memoirs depicted the 30 years during which the life in Persia changed drastically.
Princess Qajar’s hand-written memoir remains preserved at the Iran’s National Library.
Most watched YouTube videos
Many videos on YouTube have been uploaded by a number of users, which aim to cover Princess Qajar’s life and how her actions affected women’s rights in today’s Iran, which was Persia until 1935. We’re going to write about the three most viewed English-language videos amongst these, as these have helped educate people interested in knowing more about Princess Qajar, and Persia in general.
The #1 video “A story of Princess Qajar with Mustache: Men killed themselves for her!!” was uploaded by Did You Know? on 25 November 2017, and has since been watched over a million times; it covers Princess Qajar’s love life, and how some people committed suicide because she refused their love.
The second most popular video “The Real Story Behind The World’s Most Beautiful Woman Princess Qajar” was uploaded by Unexplained Mysteries on 30 July 2018, and has since been viewed nearly 130,000 times; it covers the life of Princess Qajar.
The #3 video “The Most Beautiful Persian Princess – خشگلترین زنان قاجار” was uploaded by Sahar Zand on 1 September 2017, and has since been watched over 100,000 times; it’s a collection of Princess Qajar’s pictures.
Love life and marriages
Princess Qajar was married to Hassan Khan Shojah al-Saltaneh from 1894 to 1900, meaning that she gave birth to their four children when she was between 11 and 17 years old. She was very close to her daughter Tooran al-Dowleh, and Princess Qajar was living with Tooran when she died.
It was in 1909 that she married her second husband Qollar-Aqasi Bashi; not a lot has been revealed about Princess Qajar’s second husband, because divorcing her first husband was already a taboo, while marrying another man was even worse. The two were together for a couple of years before divorcing, and didn’t have children; the exact year of Princess Qajar and Qollar-Aqasi Bashi’s divorce hasn’t been revealed.
Her third husband was Isa Khan Majd al-Saltaneh; the date of their wedding remains undisclosed, but it’s known that they were together until Princess Qajar’s death.
Interesting facts and hobbies
Princess Qajar was passionate about reading, and not a day would pass that she wouldn’t read dozens of pages; she often read at her women’s rights organization’s secret meetings, as there were a number of women who couldn’t read. She was equally passionate about writing, and wrote every day in her diary, which would eventually be made into a memoir.
She enjoyed riding horses, and it’s believed that Princess Qajar was an avid horseback rider.
She loved to paint, and also taught her followers to paint during their secret meetings.
Princess Qajar had 12 siblings, and didn’t get along with most of them because of her way of living; she was dissatisfied with her brother Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar who succeeded her father after he was assassinated, as he ruled in nearly the same way as their father.
Death and appearance
Princess Qajar was either 51 or 52 when she passed away on 25 January 1936. Her hair and eyes were brown, she was 5ft 6ins (1.67m) tall and weighed around 170lbs (78kgs).