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The BBC's Jane Warr
"It was classed as an unexplained death"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Shah's daughter found dead
Princess Leila Pahlavi
Princess Leila was a regular guest at the Leonard Hotel
The youngest daughter of the late Shah of Iran has been found dead in a bedroom at a London hotel.

Princess Leila Pahlavi, 31, was discovered by staff at the Leonard Hotel near Marble Arch just before 1930BST on Sunday evening.

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said a doctor pronounced her dead at the scene shortly afterwards.

She never surmounted the death of her father, to whom she was particularly close

Queen Farah
A post-mortem examination failed to establish the cause of death but police said there were no suspicious circumstances and it was classed as an unexplained death.

They are awaiting the results of further tests.

In a statement issued in Paris her mother Queen Farah said her daughter had been "very depressed".

"Exiled at the age of nine, she never surmounted the death of her father, His Majesty Mohamed Reza Shah Pahlavi, to whom she was particularly close," the statement said.

"She could not stand living far from Iran and shared wholeheartedly the suffering of her countrymen."

Queen Farah said she was particularly pained by the fact that her daughter had died without having a chance to return to Iran.


"Beyond the grief of a mother, this will always be a regret for me that nothing could ever fill," the statement said.

"The passing away of my beloved daughter brings me even closer to those Iranian mothers who have lived through the same mourning."

Leila's brother, Reza Pahlavi, the elder son of the Shah, released a statement about her death on the internet.

"It brings me enormous pain and deep sorrow to announce the tragic passing away of my beloved sister Princess Leila Pahlavi after a lengthy illness," he said.

Princess Leila was the youngest of the late Shah of Iran's five children, and the fourth by his third wife, Queen Farah.

She fled Iran with her family in 1979 after the Islamic revolution.

Shah Reza
The Shah and his family were forced into exile in 1979
Following the Shah's death from cancer in 1980, the family settled in America.

She attended a state school in Massachusetts before going on to study at the Ivy League Brown University, graduating in 1992.

She was not married and spent most of her time commuting between her home in Connecticut and Europe.

The princess is reported to have spent much of the year staying at the Leonard Hotel, paying 450 a night for her favourite suite.

The hotel's manager, Angela Stoppani, is quoted in The Daily Telegraph as saying the princess was at the hotel to "chill out".

"Miss Pahlavi was a lovely lady and always friendly, kind and polite to staff," she reportedly said.

"Her death came as a great shock to us all when she passed away on Sunday. It was very upsetting. Our sympathies go to her family."

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11 Jun 01 | Middle East
Timeline: Iran
03 Aug 98 | Middle East
Iran: First Shah Film
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