Royal Ascot is Britain’s most valuable race meeting, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses to compete for more than £7.3m in prize money. Each year the meeting is broadcast to audiences around the globe, yet to experience it in person is something altogether more special.
Her Highness The Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III appears poignant in 1958 as she attends the first Royal Ascot since the death of her late husband in 1957. Their presence at Royal Ascot was legendary, as was their love of horses, and for eachother.
In 1948, the American actress was introduced to the Prince Ali Khan at a party thrown by columnist Elsa Maxwell and the lovers promptly engaged a relationship threatened by religious groups and Hollywood narrow-minded spirits denouncing their affair that had begun when both were not yet officially divorced but also scandalized by the non-Christianity of the playboy prince.
Whatever, the sexy actress turned into a princess and stayed away of screens, dedicating herself to domestic life and her two daughters.
Rita Hatworth and Prince Ali Khan on their wedding day in the French Riveria
Her Highness The Begum Aga Khan III attends the wedding of her stepson Prince Aly Khan to Rita Hayworth at Château de l’Horizon in the South of France on May 27, 1949.
However, fairy tales don’t always lead to happy endings and Rita Hayworth called for divorce in 1951 after her husband was remarked with Joan Fontaine. Rita Hayworth had left the spotlights of Hollywood for the soft sunlight of elegant holiday resorts but was constrained to return to obscurity, behind the oppressive shadow of Gilda.
Her Highness The Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III welcomes actress Shirley MacLaine to her villa Yakymour in Le Cannet, during the Cannes Film Festival of 1967.
Sultan Sir Mohammd Shah Aga Khan III and Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan
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
Her Highness The Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III and Maurice Chevalier arrive at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées where Maria Callas sang that evening for the second time before the Parisian public for the benefit of the Order of Knights of Malta in June of 1963