Jahan Khanoum, Malekeh Jahan, Mahd-e Olia, "Sublime Cradle,"grand-daughter of Fath 'Ali Shah, wife of Mohammad Shah, mother of Nasser-ed-Din Shah. She was one of the strongest women of the Qajar (Kadjar) Dynasty. Wielding her power from the Harem, once her son ascended the throne of Persia. With her strong sense of being a Qajar (Kadjar) princess, she single-handedly ensured the strengthening and survival of the Qajar nobility against the rivalries by commoners elevated to positions of prominence as a result of policies of successive Qajar (Kadjar) Shahs. "An accomplished and cunning woman of some political gifts, strong personality, and family pride, she best characterized the undercurrent of matriarchy in the Qajar elite." (Amanat, Pivot of the Universe, p. 172)

Mahde Olia was known for the influence she wielded over her son, Nasser-ed-Din Shah. In a photographic record found in the archives of Ambassador Farhad Sepahbody, the extent of this influence is graphically underlined!

This text is from Ambassador Sepahbody's site. It applies to both Ambassador Sepahbody and Ambassador Hoveyda as they are cousins. Mahde-Olia is Ambassador Sepahbody's maternal ancestor. She is also the maternal ancestor of the Hoveyda family (former Prime Minister Hoveyda and Ambassador Fereydoun Hoveyda).

"No pomp and circumstance at the Persian Qajar Court. They were rather informal and easy going. This is a unique photograph from our family's files picturing my great, great-grandmother Mahde-Olia sitting on the Peacock Throne. To the left is her son Nassereddin Shah Qajar and to the right the King's sister Ezzat Doleh. My beloved and late mother descended directly from her."



Copyright of picture of Mahde-Olia, Mage Publishers, Washington, D.C. 1997.
Abbas Amanat, Pivot of the Universe, Mage Publishers, Washington, D.C. 1997.
Copyright of picture of Mahde-Olia on Peacock throne, Ambassador Farhad Sepahbody.


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