Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan at Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes  Film Festival will be celebrating its 70th anniversary this yeay. The 70th annual Film Fesitval is scheduled to be held from 17 to 28 May 2017. Spanish film director and screenwriter Pedro Almodóvar has been selected as the President of the Jury for the festival with Italian actress Monica Bellucci hosting the opening and closing ceremonies. Ismael’s Ghosts, directed by French director Arnaud Desplechin,  has been selected as the opening film for the festival.

The official poster of the festival revealed featuring Italian actress Claudia Cardinale. The actress responded:

I am honoured and proud to be flying the flag for the 70th Festival de Cannes, and delighted with this choice of photo. It’s the image I myself have of the Festival, of an event that illuminates everything around … Happy anniversary!

Claudia Cardinale

Today 60 years ago, Her Highness the Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III arrivés, as a guest of honer, at the opening of The 10th Cannes  Film Festival, 1957 with her step grandson Her Highness prince Karim Aga Khan IV.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Cannes Film Festival

Her Highness The Begum Aga Khan III and Karim Aga Khan IV arrive at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival in May of 1957

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Cannes Film Festival

Her Highness The Begum Aga Khan III is greeted by Mrs William Wyler at the Cannes Film Festival in May of 1957.

Her Higness La Bégum used to assemble the members of the Cannes film festival jury, and many national and international movie stars, at her villa Yakymour , on a hillside at Avenue Victoria, Le Cannet, above Cannes.

The 10th Cannes Film Festival was held on 2-17 May 1957. The Palmed d’Or went to the Friendly Persuasion by William Wyler. The festival opened with Around the World in 80 Days by Michael Anderson.

Christie’s Auctions Jewels from Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen

65f080d825da51f4e310c7b081b2b72d

It is not every day one can stand a chance to own jewelry that once belonged to royalty. If it isn’t enough that Shirley Temple’s blue sapphire ring, the Queen of Albania’s Coronation tiara and jewels owned by the Duchess of Windsor are all up for bids next month. On May 18, auction house Christie’s will give you that opportunity with the sale of exquisite jewels that include several from the private collection of H.S.H Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen.

The princess (born merely wealthy, she was first married to the Prince of Leiningen before marrying the Aga Kahn in 1998), received many of the jewels as gifts from her second husband.

Gabriela was previously married to Prince Karl-Emich zu Leiningen and later, May 1998 she married to his Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, 49th Imam of the Ismaili, international entrepreneur, horse-breeder and founder of the Aga Khan Development Network, and became Princess Inaara Aga Khan.

During their 16-year marriage, the Princess held the tittle Begum Inaara Aga Khan and received superb and unique Jewels from her then husband, a great art connoisseur, furthering her already extensive collection. Several of them are to be presented in the Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale in May. Before the sale however, the jewels will be on display in Geneva from May 13; the collection is currently making its way to New York as part of a tour.

Sophisticated and classically beautiful, H.S.H Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen’s extensive collection is a true reflection of its owner. A woman of charisma, wisdom, elegance and above all joy. Each jewel represents a special moment in her life and the happiness she experienced at the time.

The 46 lots set to go under the hammer in Geneva are estimated to be worth over $15 million. Bidders can expect to see spectacular items from Cartier, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tiffany & Co.

We highlight several key pieces that will certainly excite any avid jewelry collector.

Cultured pearl and diamond fringe necklace, bangle and pair of earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels.

 

Cultured Pearl and Diamond Fringe Necklace and a Bangle and Pair of Earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels

 

A significant piece on auction is the pearl and diamonds necklace the Princess inherited from her grandmother in law, the Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan (1906 – 2000), wife of Sultan Mohammed Aga Khan III. When it was given to the Princess, she commissioned Van Cleef & Arpels the creation of complementary bracelet and earrings to wear with the necklace. On several occasions, Princess Gabriele has been photographed wearing the stunning set.

GNV1415_Zmag_Cover.pdf

GNV1415_Zmag_Cover.pdf

The necklace, whose yellow-gold flowers contain small diamond clusters, has 15 cultured pearls and multiple white gold clusters. The necklace comes with a similarly set bangle and pair of ear pendants. Estimate: $200,000 to $300,000

Aside from their beauty, many of these jewels bare a compelling history of their own. To me they embody wonderful and loving personal memories as well as exciting chapters of my life, full of color, travel and encounters. They have brought me great joy and happiness. Now I wish their journey to continue, bringing joy and happiness to their new owners.

H.S.H Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen

Other highlight in the collection is the cultured pearl and diamond fringe necklace. Its owner before coming into the possession of the princess was her former husband’s grandmother, Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan. When it entered the collection of Princess Gabriela, a matching pair of ear pendants and a bangle were commissioned from Van Cleef & Arpels in order to wear them as a complete parure.

Cultured pearl and diamond necklace and pair of earrings

A SET OF CULTURED PEARL AND DIAMOND JEWELLERY Provenance H.H. Begum Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan

The necklace designed as a double strand of cultured Pearls, to the circular and retangular-cut diamond cluster clasp, together with a pair of earrings, each cultured pearld set within a baguette-cut diamond undulating surround, with four circular-cut diamond accents. Mounted in gold, the necklace is 46 cm, the earrings are 2 cm in diameter.

Provenance H.H. Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan.

A ruby, emerald and diamond flower brooch by Robert Pouget.

A RUBY, EMERALD AND DIAMOND FLOWER BROOCH, BY ROBERT POUGET Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

The rose flowerhead and rosebud set with calibré-cut rubies, to the similarly-set emerald leaves and baguette-cut diamond stem, 8.5 cm. With French assay marks for platinum and gold, signed Robert Pouget. Estimate: $40.000 – $60.000

Provenance H.H. Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan.

Emerald and diamond necklace and earrings by Cartierb71b523e8a76e488bb7e29df5a277658

The necklace features a detachable, cushion-shaped emerald pendant weighing approximately 39.7 carats; there are five more emeralds in the necklace weighing more than 16 carats in total. Estimate: $2.5 million to $3.5 million

This creation by Cartier that would make any woman swoon. The diamond and emerald necklace features an almost 40-carat Colombian emerald. The necklace with the matching earrings was worn at the official dinner that followed the wedding of Prince Felipe of Spain and Letizia Ortiz back in 2004.

e0d742d50c8631007883d636fdb1803c

 

Persepolis necklace and paire of Persane earrings by Cartier

119024968_o

The necklace, set with emeralds, sapphires, and rose-cut diamonds, is paired with a pair of emerald, diamond, and pearl earrings. The necklace was a gift from the princess’s mother, Renate Thyssen. Estimate: $700,000 to $1 million.

 

'Persepolis' Necklace and Pair of 'Persane' Earrings by Cartier

Pieces that will certainly get your attention, include a suite of emerald, diamond and pearl jewelry from Cartier, as well as the ‘Persepolis’ necklace and pair of ‘Persane’ earrings. With graduated emerald bead drops and a larger emerald beat pendant suspended, the suite also features a briolette-cut diamond and oval cabochon emerald surmount. With emeralds, diamonds and sapphires of several cuts, the ‘Persepolis’ neckalce and ‘Persane’ earrings are a set that certainly cannot be missed.

 

Suite of emerald, diamond, and pearl jewelry by Cartier

 

suite-of-emerald-diamond-and-pearl-jewelry-by-cartier-e1528245624210.jpg

Collection of H.S.H. Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen. A suite of Colombian emerald, diamond and pearl jewellery, by Cartier4

 

The necklace is a fringe of emerald beads interspersed with diamonds and pearls, suspended on a larger emerald and diamond pendant. The necklace is matched with a similarly-set pendant clasp, bracelet, and pair of ear pendants. Estimate: $500,000 to $700,000.

 

The Pohl diamond by Cartier

The 'Pohl' Diamond by Cartier

Pohl Diamond. What makes this 36-carat diamond so special is that it was the very first significant diamond that was polished in America (most diamonds are polished in Europe, India or Israel) before it was sold in 1943 to Bernice Chrysler Garbisch of the Chrysler Family. Having been mined nearly a decade earlier as a 287-carat rough stone, the diamond was acquired in 1998 for the Princess at Cartier.

GNV1415_Zmag_Cover.pdf

This massive 36.09 carat diamond, flawless D color, is mounted on platinum and tapered by baguette-cut schoulders. Estimate: $3.8 million to $5.5 million.

 

Sapphire and diamond ring by Cartier

Sapphire and diamond ring by CartierThe sapphire weighs a massive 21.06 carats and is set in platinum between baguette-cut diamond shoulders. Estimate: $600,000 to $800,000.

 

A magnificent diamond and sapphire necklace by Cartier

 

110455725_o

A detachable pendant set with a cushion-shaped sapphire, weighing approximately 55.61 carats, a pear-shaped diamond weighing approximately 6.05 carats, and a cushion-shaped sapphire surmount, weighing approximately 3.48 carats, to the necklace set with a continuous line of graduated pear-shaped diamonds. The nacklace is 37 cm and is dated 1998, Signed Cartier, with French assay marks for platinum and gold. It comes in its original Cartier red leather box. Estimate: $2.000.000 – $3.000.000.

65b4b50b93324bfe619393177dc7e813Accompanied by report no. 16030063/1 and 2 dated March 2016 from the Gübelin GemLab stating that the orgin of the sapphires is Burma, with no indications of heating.

Report 1176529998 dated 15 March 2016 from the GIA Gemological Institute of America stating that the 6.05 carat diamond, VVS1 clarity: also with a working diagram indicating that the clarity of the diamond is potentially internally flawless, and the Diamond Type Classification letter stating that the diamond has been determined to be type IIa.

Further the necklace is accompanied with by a copy of an invoice dated 18 November 1998 from Cartier.

 

Pair of diamond and sapphire earrings by Cartier 

Pair of diamond and sapphire earrings by Cartier

The two sapphires, weighing 24.69 and 25.63 carats are detachable; the diamonds are set in platinum. Estimate: $600,000 to $800,000

 

Ruby and diamond Novelty brooch watch by Cartier119026913_o

 

Ruby and Diamond Novelty Brooch by Cartier

This ‘novelty’ brooch, so-called because one side opens to reveal a watch with a circular dial, was once owned by Begum Sultan Mohamed Shah Om Habibeh Aga Khan III (the princess’s ex-husband’s grandmother).

The violin was one of Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan’s – and Princess Gabriele’s – favorite instruments. The brooch, modelled as a violin, has calibré-cut ruby belly with diamond fingerboard and tailpiece, with pavé-set diamond ribs. A one side opening to reveal a watch with circlar dial, Roman numerals and quartz movement. Together with its bow, its dated 1989. The violin, 6,8 cm, and bow, 8 cm, are mounted in platinum and gold. The violin is signed Cartier, no.001: the bow is unsigned. Estimate: $10,500 to $15,000.

Provenance H.H. Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan.

 

Mystery set ruby and diamond brooch and pair of earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels

Ruby and Diamond Brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels

This ‘Mystery Set’ flower brooch comprises rubies and a diamond-cluster pistil and is mounted in platinum and gold. Estimate: $150,000 to $250,000

'Mystery Set' Ruby and Diamond 'Poppy' Earrings by Van Cleef & ArpelsEach ‘Mystery Set’ ruby-set poppy flower has a circular-cut diamond pistil and two diamond-set leaves set in platinum. Estimate: $100,000 to $150,000.

 

H.S.H Gabriela Princess zu Leiningen

Born to an entrepreneurial and philanthropic German family, Princess Gabriela, a trained lawyer, has been involved in educational, health and cultural development programs throughout her life.

In 2004, the Princess founded the Princess Inaara Foundation. This aid organization is committed to supporting projects in both Germany and in developing countries, striving to protect and ameliorate the rights of women and children in need, often through microcredit projects. She campaigns for greater understanding and tolerance across diverse cultures, whilst also being committed to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and continues to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees for the German AIDS Foundation.

The sale will be held on May 18, 7pm at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva. For more information on the auction, visit Christie’s.

 

 

 

 

 

The lady of Yakymour

 

Yvette Labrousse Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Yvette Labrousse

Yvette ‘Yvonne’ Blanche Labrousse born in 1906, of a father who was a tramway driver and a town councillor for Le Cannet, and a mother who was a seamstress. Nothing in her modest upbringing told anything of the glorious destiny that was to be hers.

Today, 110 years ago, Yvette Labrousse was born Yvonne Blanch Labrousse in the small town of Sète, near Marseilles, France, on 15 February 1906. She was the daughter of Adrien Labrousse (October 25, 1874 – June 1, 1969) and Marie Brouet (December 26, 1870 – .. ) , a seamstress. When she was only six months old her family soon move to Cannes, where they lived in a flat in the Rue d’Antibes, and later on to Lyon where the young Yvette spent most of her childhood.

 

Yvonne Yvette Labrousse Om Habibeh Begum Aga Khan

Yvette Labrousse

Yvette grew up tall, more than six feet, and vèry beautiful. Having stricktly raised, however, she showed no disposition to accept the film and modelling offers that cameher way, instead, she went to work with her mother, who was running a dress shop that time. She always told that her parents were very warm, kind and always openminded.

 

Yvette Yvonne Blanche Labrousse Sète Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Le Cannet

Yvette Labrousse

After being elected Miss Lyon in 1929, at the age of twenty-four, then Miss France in Paris in 1930, she joined the Miss Europe 1930 pageant in Paris, at the Paris Opera. The streets outside the hall were packed with people eager to see the beautiful participants from all over Europe… It was one of the most talked about events in the press.

 

Miss France, Yvette Labrousse, Begum Um Habibeh Aga Khan

Miss France, Yvette Labrousse, was always full of great story’s about ‘her time’ as Miss France. Talking about the girls, the fashion of that time, the make-up and the travels.

 

12733570_1219927948035748_2868114140188946893_n

Yvette Labrousse, Paris, 1930’s

Yet Yvette Labrousse was no longer a provincial. As a beauty queen and a representatieve of France, she traveled to many countries around the world. She found herself particulary taken by Egypt and, in the late thirdies she moved to Egypt, she moved to Cairo and adopted the faith of Islam.

In Cairo, Yvette Labrousse met her future husband, the Sultan Aga Khan III, 48th Imam of the Nizari Shia Ismaili community, and they fell in love at first sight when they met at a royal dancing party in Egypt in 1938. They married thirteen months after the Aga Khan III and his third wife were divorcedby mutual consent, on 9 October 1944 in Switzerland.

 

Yvette Labrousse Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III by Weinberg Picture FrameSir Sultan Mohamad Aga Khan III and Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan seated half-length portrait by Weinberg. Photograph signed and inscribed by Begum, “A souvenir – from an old friend – of the family Aga Khan”. Inscribed in the image, middle left and right. 8 1/2×6 1/2 inches; matted in original sterling silver frame bearing Khan’s emblem at top. Circa 1955

After her marriage she took the name of Om Habibeh (Little Mother of the Beloved) and became Begum, fully Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan. Her husband playfully nicknamed her ‘Yaky’, which was composed from the initials of ‘Yvette’, ‘Aga’ and ‘Khan’. In 1954, Om Habibeh was given the title of ‘Mata Salamat’, which literally means serene or peaceful mother. She was the foutyh woman in Islamic history with that title during last 13 centuries.

I have at last been granted the real and wonderful haven of finding in and with my wife a true union of mind and soul

Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah, Aga Khan III, in his Memoirs ‘World Enough & Time’, page 275

They settled in the Avenue Victoria villa at Le Cannet, in the hills above Cannes, on a hillside wich she had once looked on to from the flat in the Rue d’Antibes, for which planning permission applications had been submitted in 1937. They named it Yakymour: Y for Yvette, ak for Aga Khan, mour for amour. The French word for love. As is clear from such indications , the couple was very close and the two loved each other dearly.

 

Yakymour

Yakymour, Le Cannet, France

Within this property surrounded by parkland, Her Higness La Bégum used to assemble the members of the Cannes film festival jury, and many national and international movie stars. Some of them became friends for live. She wasn’t only Kees van Dongen’s muse, but with her husband’s encouragement, she also developed an active interest in painting and sculpture, herself becoming an accomplished artist and sculptor. She was also interested in the arts including classical music, opera and ballet.

I always appreciated beauty, but he (the Aga Khan) taught me how really to enjoy a lovely sunset, moonlight, to know the stars, the colours and scents of flowers, to like music, ballet and opera, to appreciate everything that is beautiful in life.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

She rarely left his side, and nursed him devotedly through the pains of old age until his death in 1957. But her duty was also a delight. She never ceased to be grateful for the manner in which he had widened her horizons, especially in music and in the arts. “Enjoy yourself”, he told her. “It’s later then you think”.

 

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Shortly before his death, the Aga Khan III chose a location on the West Bank of the Nile as his final resting place. The location was highly symbolic, for centuries earlier the Aga Khan’s ancestors had founded the Fatimid dynasty with its capital in Cairo. The Fatimids represented one of the apogees of culture, being patrons of the arts, liteature, achitecture, pluralism (the acceptance of racial, ethnic, cultural and intra-religious differences) and scientific endeavors,  all fields that were equally dear to the Aga Khan III an Om Habibeh. The Begum was very supportive of her husband in his work during their thirteen years together. They both took a particular interest in issues affecting women’s welfare.

When her husband died in 1957, he had stated in his will that his successor, his grandson Karim, would have Om Habibeh as advisor for the first seven years of his reign. because she had been familiar for many years with the issues facing his followers and he had the confidence in her wise judgment. Immediatly, with the help of architect Farid El-Shafie and contractor Hassan Dorra, Om Habibeh started building at Aswan, on top of the hill above there house, a mausoleum to her husband, a task that took 16 months. “The Aga Khan wants to sleep in the hot sand overlooking the waters of the Nile”, Om Habibeh always said, “and when I die I want to lie beside him. We do not want to be parted”.

 

Begum Om HabibehAga Khan Yvette Labrouse Aswan

It was not in her nature either to forget, or to try to hide, her humble orgins. Her legacy remains in the Om Habibeh Foundation, whose programs have contributed to health, education and inclusion in some of the poorest areas of Egypt.

Her gesture of daily placing a red rose on her husband’s tomb while in Egypt (every day for 43 years, either the Begum or when she was away in Europe, Sheikh Ahmed Ibrahim, whom she hired in 1963 to spend eight hours a day chanting verses from the Koran over her late husband’s tomb, laid a fresh red rose there) enforced the reputation of the legendary romance between the Aga Khan III and Om Habibeh. After the death of her husband, she continued to live at Yakymour, though she always spent three months a year in the villa at Aswan, the site of her husband’s mausoleum.

As a widow, she travelled widely both for charity and for pleasure. She was a regular face at Ascot (she herself owned several horses), where she always caught the eye. In the 1950’s and 60’s she was a true fashion icon, and was a countless times on the cover of big magazines. Her advice on fashion was typically sensible: “Don’t choose what you like, but what suits you. To be elegant one must have discretion. The secret is in the details”. Often she was sitting front-row at the Paris fashion shows from Christian Dior, Lanvin, Jaques Faith and many others.

 

Yvette Labrousse Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan by Gyenes

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan by Gyenes

She was dearly loved by her people because of her generosity to the poor, childern, women and the elderly, and, by her own husband as well. She had a big heart for everybody. Also for people outside the Shia Ismaili community. No matter what kind of religion, man or women, or even sexual oriantation, she was véry openminded, Yakymour and Nour el-Salam were both an open house.

We should take care of eachother, everybody should be loved!, we are here on earth to do good, and not to harm or judge people, so lets love.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Begum Om Habibeh also loved annimals a lot. Over the years she had several dogs and cats. “Every person and every animal should be loved, we are all creations from Allah. “When a person is not good for animals, he can not be good to humans”. “We should take care of eachother, everybody should be loved!, we are here on earth to do good, and not to harm or judge people, so lets love”…. And that’s what she did!

 

Yvette-Labrousse-Begum-Om-Habibeh-Aga-Khan-at Yakymour-Le-Cannet.jpg

Grandma ‘Yaky’, the Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan with her poodles at Yakymour, Le Cannet, France, January 1, 1985 

Beauty was not only on the outside. It came from the heart. Highly popular, Her Highness La Bégum showed great generosity throughout her life. She made many donations to schools (‘education is the most impotant thing in life after being loved’ and ‘The highest result of education is tolerance’ she always said) and hospitals. But also donations to women’s shelters, Alzheimer foundation, and… Aids foundation.

The highest result of education is tolerance.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Over four decades of widowhood (she never thought of remarrying) she was always out in the community helping the poor and elderly and would relentlessly encourage education for women. For over forty years, banquets were offered to the town’s elderly inhabitants. The Begum also ran a charitable foundation, the Om Habibeh Foundation, which tackled poverty in Aswan, Egypt, where she inherited her husband’s villa by the Nile. At home in Le Cannet, she established a home for the elderly. It was not in her nature either to forget, or to try to hide, her humble origins. In the last years of her life, she made an outstanding donation to the town, enabling it to renew its school property.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan at Le Cannet, Le Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers

Begum Om Habibeh, Le Cannet, Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers, Le Cannet, 1997

She also contributed to the creation of the Jardin des Oliviers, for which the town showed its gratitude by erecting a bronze statue by Charles-Louis La Salle, unveiled by the mayor of Le Cannet Rocheville, in her image. She last appeared in public for the inauguration of this garden in 1997. She was also vèry happy that she could be present at the wedding of Princess Zahra Aga Khan with the businessman Mark Boyden, June 21, 1997 in Paris.

Le Cannet, Le Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers

Le Cannet, Le Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers Park

Le Cannet, Le Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

Le Cannet, Le Jardin Des Oliviers, Avenue Thiers, bronze statue of Om Habibeh by Charles-Louis La Salle

Before her death, the late Begum arranged for Yakymour, the home of which she and her husband were so fond, to be retained for use by the Aga Khan family. She also planned that a large part of her estate be donated to two foundations closely associated with the family: The Aga Khan Foundation, Geneva, a non-profit organisation established by the current Aga Khan in 1967, which oversees and supports major international programmes in health, education and rural development, in some of the poorest regions of Asia and Africa, and the Bellerive Foundation in Geneva, established by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan in 1977, which is devoted to the protection of the environment, conservation of natural resources and the safeguarding of human and animal rights.

There was no doubting her enduring devotion. “Now all I have left to hope for”, she said shortly before her death, “is that Allah will take me to his side”. Begum Om Habibeh ‘Mata Salamat’ aka Yvette Labrousse died on 1 July 2000, in Le Cannet, near Cannes, at the age of 94 years, and is buried next to her beloved husband at the Aga Khan’s sandstone mausoleum in Aswan. The couple had no children. She was survived by her stepson, Sadruddin Aga Khan, and three step-grandchildren, Karim Aga Khan the current Aga Khan, Amyn Aga Khan and Yasmin Aga Khan, who are the children of the late Prince Aly Khan, who died in 1960 and who was the eldest son of the late Aga Khan.

The jamat will recall with fondness and affection her support for the work of My late beloved grandfather, and also her devoted care and attention to Him particularly in the later years of His life. Throughout her lifetime Mata Salamat retained an abiding interest to the progress and well-being of the jamat world-wide

Mawlânâ Hazar Imam Karim Aga Khan IV

She has now been reunited with her husband, who has been resting, since 1957, in a mausoleum built on their Nour es-Salam property, near the river Nile, in Aswan, Egypt. ‘Till today she is very respected and loved. For her eternal love, her honesty, her help (she hated the word ‘charity’!) and being só openminded…..

by Jean Amr

 

 

 

 The Om Habibeh Foundation

The Om Habibeh Foundation was established by the Aga Khan’s late step-grandmother, Om Habibeh, the Begum Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan. It is an Egyptian, not-for-profit organisation of long-standing that has been contributing to, and supporting, a number of institutions, in the Aswan area, which are involved in healthcare, education and income generation for disadvantaged communities. The Foundation draws on the support and technical expertise of the agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network to advance the newly announced initiatives.

The Aga Khan Foundation

For more information:

Farees Nathoo
Aga Khan Foundation
Tel. +20 (22) 506 1570
Email: info@akdn.org

 

 

 

 

 

A family gatering at Yakymour

A family portrait

April 1, 1949 a family gathering in the soucth of France at Yakymour, Le Cannet. The whole family together at the house of Sultan Mohammed Aga Khan III and his wife The Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III, his childern Sadruddin and Aly Aga Khan with his wife Rita Hayworth. His grandchildern Amyn Aga Khan and Karim Aga Khan.

10487552_867191013309445_2630879730763133021_n

From left to right: Begum Om Habibeh Aha Khan III, Amyn Aga Khan, Sadruddin Aga Khan, Aly Aga Khan, Karim Aga Khan. Sitting: Sultan Mohammed Aga Khan III and Rita Hayworth at Yakymour, Le Cannet, France, April 1, 1949

(click to enlarge photo).

by Jean Amr

Yakymour: A place of fashion, beauté, art, flowers, beauty and… love!

 

YakymourYakymour, Le Cannet, France

Playing as a child in the garden of Yakymour. A happy, innocent time, thanx to ‘Grandma’ Om Habibeh ‘Mata Salamat’ Aga Khan and to Sadruddin, where I could be fully myself and forget ‘the bad things’, and get some strenght

Yakymour, the house of the Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan. She was born Yvette Blanche Labrousse in 1906, of a father who was a tramway driver and a town councillor for Le Cannet and a mother who was a seamstress. Nothing in her modest upbringing told anything of the glorious destiny that was to be hers. After bieng elected Miss Lyon in 1929, then Miss France in Paris in 1930, she joined the Miss Europe 1930 pageant in Paris, won by Miss Greece. She started to travel around the world and settled in Egypt.

 

Yakimour1-1

Yakymour, in her own handwriting, on the wall next to the gate of her home.

There Yvette Labrousse met her future husband, the Sultan Aga Khan III, 48th Imam of the Nizari Shia Ismaili community, whom she married on 9 October 1944 in Switzerland, and took the name of Om Habibeh (Little Mother of the Beloved) and became Begum, fully Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan. In 1954, Om Habibeh was given the title of ‘Mata Salamat’, which literally means serene or peaceful mother. She was the foutyh womn in Islamic history with that title! They settled in the Avenue Victoria villa at Le Cannet, above Cannes, on a hillside wich she had once looked on to from the flat in the Rue d’Antibes, for which planning permission applications had been submitted in 1937.

 

Yvette Labrousse Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan by Gyenes

HH Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III

They named it Yakymour: Y for Yvette, ak for Aga Khan, mour for amour. Within this property surrounded by parkland, Her Higness La Bégum used to assemble the members of the Cannes film festival jury. When her husband died in 1957, he had stated in his will that his successor, his grandson Karim, would have Om Habibeh as advisor for the first seven years of his reign. Om Habibeh started building at Aswan, on top of the hill above there house, a mausoleum to her husband, immediately after his death, while finishing it took 16 months.

Her gesture of daily placing a red rose on her husband’s tomb while in Egypt (every day for 43 years, either the Begum or when she was away in Europe, Sheikh Ahmed Ibrahim, whom she hired in 1963 to spend eight hours a day chanting verses from the Koran over her late husband’s tomb, laid a fresh red rose there) enforced the reputation of the legendary romance between the Aga Khan III and Om Habebeh. After the death of her husband, she continued to live at Yakymour, though she always spent three months a year in the villa at Aswan, the site of her husband’s mausoleum.

France, Le Cannet, Yakymour

Yakymour, Le Cannet, France

As a widow, she travelled widely both for charity and for pleasure. She was a regular face at Ascot (she herself owned several horses), where she always caught the eye. In the 1950’s and 60’s she was a true fashion icon, and was a countless times on the cover of big magazines. Her advice on fashion was typically sensible: “Don’t choose what you like, but what suits you. To be elegant one must have discretion. The secret is in the details”. She was dearly loved by her people because of her generosity to the poor, childern, women and the elderly, and, by her own husband as well. She had a big heart for everybody. Also for people outside the Shia Ismaili community. No matter what kind of religion, man or women, or even sexual oriantation, she was véry openminded, Yakymour was an open house.

She also loved annimals a lot. Over the years she had several dogs and cats. ‘Every person and every animal should be loved, we are all creations from Allah. When a person is not good for animals, he can not be good to humans’. ‘We should take care of eachother, everybody should be loved!, We are here on earth to do good, and not to harm or judge people, so lets love’…. And that’s what she did!

Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan

HH Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III

Beauty was not only on the outside. It came from the heart. Highly popular, Her Highness La Bégum showed great generosity throughout her life. She made many donations to schools (‘education is the most impotant thing in life after being loved’ and ‘The highest result of education is tolerance’ she always said) and hospitals. But also donations to women’s shelters, Alzheimer foundation, and… Aids foundation.

For over forty years, banquets were offered to the town’s elderly inhabitants. The Begum also ran a charitable foundation (Om Habibeh Foundation) which tackled poverty in Aswan, Egypt, where she inherited her husband’s villa by the Nile. At home in Cannes, she established a home for the elderly. It was not in her nature either to forget, or to try to hide, her humble origins. In the last years of her life, she made an outstanding donation to the town, enabling it to renew its school property. She also contributed to the creation of the Jardin des Oliviers, for which the town showed its gratitude by erecting a bronze statue by Charles-Louis La Salle, in her image. She last appeared in public for the inauguration of this garden in 1997

But there was no doubting her enduring devotion. “Now all I have left to hope for”, she said shortly before her death, is that Allah will take me to his side”. Begum Om Habibeh ‘Mata Salamat’ aka Yvette Labrousse died on 1 July 2000, in Le Cannet, near Cannes, at the age of 94 years, and is buried next to her beloved husband at the Aga Khan’s sandstone mausoleum in Aswan. The couple had no children. She was survived by her stepson, Sadruddin Aga Khan, and three step-grandchildren, Karim Aga Khan the current Aga Khan, Amyn Aga Khan and Yasmin Aga Khan. She has now been reunited with her husband, who has been resting, since 1957, in a mausoleum built on their Nour es-Salam property, near the River Nile, in Aswan, Egypt. ‘Till today she is very respected and loved. For her eternal love, her honesty, her help (she hated the word ‘charity’!) and being só openminded…..

Om Habibeh, ‘Yaky’ I love you! Thanx for everything you showed me and teached me! Love always!

Jean Amr

 

 

 

 

Aga Khan announces Om Habibeh Foundation grant for Aswan

His Highness the Aga Khan in Cairo, Egypt, December 2003-12-Egypt-24910

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, in Cairo, Egypt, December 2003.

His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Ismaili Muslims today announced a grant of US$ 320,000 for medical equipment by the Om Habibeh Foundation established by the Aga Khan’s late step-grandmother, Om Habibeh, the Begum Sultan Mahomed Shah.

Following a meeting with the Governor of Aswan, H.E. Samir Hassanin, the Aga Khan announced the grant as part of a series of new development initiatives to benefit the people of Aswan. These included a plan for a social development training centre to have national reach, and programmes in the areas of nursing education, pre-school education and the strengthening of civil society organisations. The new initiatives in Aswan will complement an extensive social and urban development programme underway on the edge of the historic city of Cairo.

Aswan and the people of Aswan, have a place of deep affection in my heart and within my family.

His Highness the Aga Khan IV

The Aga Khan went on to state that the Aga Khan Foundation (Egypt) which was in the process being established as a national entity would work in Aswan through the Om Habibeh Foundation which is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network.

The programmes announced today intend to both continue, and also to build significantly on, the work begun by Begum Sultan Mahomed Shah. Our objective, is to strengthen civil society at the grassroots by helping to improve community development organisations and by bringing to bear on critical needs in this area, the panoply of experience and resources of the Aga Khan Development Network.

His Highness the Aga Khan IV

Governor Hassanin expressed sincere gratitude on behalf of the people of Aswan and pledged to extend the Governorate’s full cooperation and support to the new initiatives which he said both responded to immediate and long-term needs, and reinforced the warm and close historic links that bound the Aga Khan, his family, and his community to Aswan and to Egypt.

Begum Om HabibehAga Khan Yvette Labrouse Aswan

Begum Om Habibeh ‘Mata Salamat’ Aga Khan in Aswan

It is hoped that the Aga Khan University will be invited to provide the planned support for nursing education. The University operates programmes in this field in six countries in Africa and Asia. It also supports training in the healthcare field in Syria and its teaching hospital handles referral services through a presence in the United Arab Emirates. Early childhood education has been an area of expertise for the Aga Khan Education Services for many decades now. Besides facilitating and providing pre-school education on four continents, the Aga Khan Education Services has just announced that it will establish an Early Learning Centre in Dubai to offer broad, holistic, early childhood education on a secular and non-denominational basis at the highest international standards of excellence. The Aga Khan Foundation is active in a number of countries in promoting an ‘enabling environment’ for the emerging non-profit citizen sector, by providing advice and related institutional strengthening services and by helping to forge new models for partnerships involving government, business and citizen organisations to extend, improve and sustain health, education and welfare services for underprivileged populations.

The Om Habibeh Foundation is an Egyptian, not-for-profit organisation of long-standing that has been contributing to, and supporting, a number of institutions in the Aswan area involved in healthcare, education and income generation for disadvantaged communities. The Foundation will draw on the support and technical expertise of the agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network to advance the newly announced initiatives.

Om Habibeh, the Begum Sultan Mahuhammad Shah was born Yvette Blanche Labrousse in 1906, of a father who was a tramway driver and a town councillor for Le Cannet and a mother who was a seamstress. Nothing in her modest upbringing told anything of the glorious destiny that was to be hers. After bieng elected Miss Lyon in 1929, then Miss France in Paris in 1930, she joined the Miss Europe 1930 pageant in Paris, won by Miss Greece. She started to travel around the world and settled in Egypt.

There Yvette Labrousse met her future husband, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III, 48th Imam of the Nizari Shia Ismaili community (the present Aga Khan’s grandfather and predecessor as Imam), whom she married on 9 October 1944 in Switzerland, and took the name of Om Habibeh (Little Mother of the Beloved) and became Begum, fully Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan. In 1954, Om Habibeh was given the title of ‘Mata Salamat’, which literally means serene or peaceful mother. She was the foutyh women in Islamic history with that title! They settled in the villa Yakymour at Le Cannet, above Cannes, on a hillside wich she had once looked on to from the flat in the Rue d’Antibes, for which planning permission applications had been submitted in 1937.

She and her husband, Sir Sultan Mahuhammad Shah Aga Khan spent also many happy times at their home Noor El Salam by the banks of the Nile at Aswan. When her husband died in 1957, Om Habibeh started building at Aswan, on top of the hill above there house, a mausoleum to her husband, immediately after his death, while finishing it took 16 months. After the death of her husband, she continued to live at Yakymour, le Cannet, France, though she always spent three months a year in the villa at Aswan, at the site of her husband’s mausoleum.

Yvette Labrousse Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan Aswan Egypt

Begum Om Habibeh ‘Mata Salamat’ Aga Khan in Aswan on the river Nile.

As a widow, she travelled widely both for charity and for pleasure. She was dearly loved by her people because of her generosity to the poor, childern, women and the elderly, and, by her own husband as well. She had a big heart for everybody. Also for people outside the Shia Ismaili community. No matter what kind of religion, man or women, or even sexual oriantation, she was véry openminded, Yakymour was an open house.

Every person and every animal should be loved, we are all creations from Allah. When a person is not good for animals, he can not be good to humans’. ‘We should take care of eachother, everybody should be loved!, We are here on earth to do good, and not to harm or judge people, so lets love’….

Begum Om Habibeh ‘Mata Salamat’ Aga Khan

And that’s what she did! Beauty was not only on the outside. It came from the heart. Highly popular, Her Highness La Bégum showed great generosity throughout her life. She made many donations to schools (‘education is the most impotant thing in life after being loved’ and ‘The highest result of education is tolerance’ she always said) and hospitals. But also donations to women’s shelters, Alzheimer foundation, and… Aids foundation.

For over forty years, banquets were offered to the town’s elderly inhabitants. The Begum also ran a charitable foundation, the Om Habibeh Foundation, which tackled poverty in Aswan, Egypt. At home in Cannes, she established a home for the elderly. It was not in her nature either to forget, or to try to hide, her humble origins. In the last years of her life, she made an outstanding donation to the town, enabling it to renew its school property. Begum Om Habibeh ‘Mata Salamat’ aka Yvette Labrousse died on 1 July 2000, in Le Cannet, near Cannes, at the age of 94 years, and is buried alongside to her beloved husband at the Aga Khan’s sandstone mausoleum in Aswan in whose design she was closely involved.

The family’s historic connections with Egypt go back to the Aga Khan’s ancestor, the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al Mui’zz who founded the city of Cairo in the 10th century.

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture is currently engaged in an extensive range of cultural, social and urban development projects on the edge of the historic city . They encompass: the creation of the 33-hectare Azhar Park that will be the city’s largest green space; community leisure and recreational areas; rehabilitation of the 12th Century Ayyubid Wall; restoration for re-use of selected historic buildings and monuments; and social development projects that include the provision of microfinance and microenterprise support in the Darb al Ahmar district.

The Aga Khan’s visit to Egypt comes at the end of an extensive tour covering Pakistan and the Middle East, including visits to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

For further information about the and the Om Habibeh Foundation, please contact:
The Information Department
Aiglemont
60270 Gouvieux, France
Téléphone: +33 3 44 58 40 00
Fax: +33 3 44 58 42 79
E-mail: amyn.ahamed@aiglemont.org
Website: www.akdn.org