Mohammad Reza later held the monarchial titles of Shahanshah or King of Kings and Aryamehr or the Light of the Aryans. His rule as the second monarch of the Pahlavi dynasty began on 16 September 1941 and ended at the time of the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979. Mohammad Reza was in fact the last Shah of the Iranian monarchy (Pahlavi b).
As a child, Mohammad Reza had attended the Institut Le Rosey, a Swiss boarding school. Upon completing his schooling in 1935, he had returned to Iran to enroll in the local military academy in Tehran. Soon after completing his courses at the local military academy in 1938, Mohammad Reza was to replace his father on the throne. This happened in the midst of the Second World War in 1941. Nazi Germany had started Operation Barbarossa and invaded the Soviet Union, thus breaking the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact. Iran was affected by the invasion because it had maintained good relations with both sides. Although the country had declared neutrality on the subject of the invasion of Soviet Union, it was seen as a potential member of the Axis, a threat to the enemies of Nazi Germany. It was at this time that both Great Britain and Soviet Union staged a preventive invasion upon the Iranian soil. The Allies pushed Mohammad Reza's father to step down from the throne in favor of his son. They had guessed that the young prince would be more open to influence from the pro-Allied West, and they were proved correct in their assumption (Pahlavi b).
Mohammad Reza was married four times. Princess Fawzia of Egypt was his first wife and the daughter of King Fuad I of Egypt. His second wife was Nazli Sabri, the sister of King Farouk I of Egypt. Mohammad Reza married his second wife in 1939 and divorced her in 1945 according to the Egyptian divorce law and again in 1948 following the Iranian divorce law. He had divorced her on the grounds that she was unable to produce an heir to the throne. Fawzia, too, left Mohammad Reza and returned to Egypt. They had a daughter through this marriage, by the name of Princess Shahnaz Pahlavi (Pahlavi a).
The Shah of Iran was also married to Soraya Esfandiary. She was the only daughter of Khalil Esfandiary, the Ambassador of Iran to the Federal Republic of Germany. Her mother was German. Mohammad Reza married Soraya in 1951 and divorced in 1958. She, too, could not bear children for him. The woman appeared in a 1965 film, Three Faces of a Woman, and later married the Italian director of the film (Pahlavi a). Mohammad Reza spoke on the role of women thus:
Women are important in a man's life only if they're beautiful and charming and
keep their femininity and ... this business of feminism, for instance. What do these
feminists want What do you want You say equality. Oh! I don't want to seem rude,
but.. you're equal in the eyes of the law but not, excuse my saying so, in ability ...
You've never produced a Michelangelo or a Bach. You've never even produced a
great chef. And if you talk to me about opportunity, all I can say is, Are you joking
Have you ever lacked the opportunity to give history a great chef You've produced
nothing great, nothing! You're schemers, you are evil. All of you (Yaghmajan).
The favorite wife of the