Prince Aly Khan (1911-1960) on Cover of Sports Illustrated March Issue 1959.
Video Tribute to Aly Khan’s shortlived love affair with Hollywood Star Rita Hayworth:
Son of Aga Khan III and Therese Magliano Born 13 June 1911 Torino, Italy Died 12 May 1960 Paris (car accident)
Through his father, Prince Aly Kan claims descent from the Prophet Mohammed, while his mother, of humble Italian origins, had been a ballet dancer in the casino at Monte Carlo. In partnership with his father, the Aga Khan, he operated stud farms that bred some of Europe’s finest racehorses. However, his reputation was as a lover who had bedded many women. Over the years his name has been linked with, amongst others, Yvonne de Carlo, Joan Fontaine, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Judy Garland, Kim Novak, Pamela Digby, Gene Tierney and Simone Simon.
At the age of eighteen his father had sent him to Cairo to be trained by the madams of the great bordellos in the art of Imsak, the art of withholding climax and the Egyptian equivalent of Fang Chung. His demanding and emotionally distant father, leader of some 15,000,000 Asian and African Ismaili Muslims, was a statesman and multi-millionaire who had played an important role in the founding of the All-India Moslem League.
In 1929 he went to London to study law but became interested and involved in racing cars, breeding Derby-winning horses and making love. In March 1934 while in New York, he was invited to a soiree given by socialite Mrs. Frank Vance Storres; at the dinner he was placed next to Thelma, Viscountess Furness, the current mistress of the Prince of Wales. Their attraction was instant and he tried to delay her return to Europe. However, determined to return to the Prince of Wales, she boarded the “Bremen”. The next morning the telephone in her cabin rang, it was Prince Aly Khan asking her to lunch with him. He had secretly joined the ship and, after that, how could she resist him?
Rejuvenated, she returned to England but, as the Prince of Wales had spies everywhere, she had to explain because, in the Prince’s opinion, “How could she betray him with a Persian?” That the Prince had already embarked on his affaire with her friend, Wallis Simpson, appeared not to matter. Thelma was no longer the prince’s mistress.
On 18 May 1936 Prince Aly Khan married the divorced Joan Yarde-Buller and they became the parents of two sons. During World War II he provided invaluable assistance to Allied intelligence, using his flawless English, French and Persian, for which service he received the Croix de Guerre and the U.S. Bronze Star.
In 1948, estranged from his wife, he was behaving again as a bachelor and, when meeting the actress Rita Hayworth, he was smitten. Rita Hayworth, not yet divorced from Orson Welles, was at first not interested in Aly Khan; but when he turned out to be “much more attentive and romantic” than Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth moved in with him. However, after travelling to Spain with him, she returned alone to Hollywood.
Prince Aly Khan then followed her to America. On 1 December 1948 Rita Hayworth’s divorce from Orson Welles became final and, because of her problems with the film studio, she returned with him to Europe. When the scandal, because of the Prince still being married, became too much, his father ordered him to contain the publicity. To obtain the Aga Khan’s blessing for the marriage, Rita Hayworth went to Cannes to meet him and won him over.
The Prince then divorced his wife and, on 27 May 1949, married Rita Hayworth already two months pregnant. On 28 December 1949 they became the parents of a daughter. However, as he continued to pursue other women, Rita Hayworth returned to America where, on 26 January 1953, she divorced him.
Legal action followed to allow him to see his daughter but women remained his main interest in life until, in 1958, Pakistan appointed him their representative at the United Nations. In April 1960 he flew to Los Angeles to be with Yasmin, his daughter, then returned to France. On the night of 12 May 1960, en route to a dinner party with his current mistress, Bettina, and his chauffeur in the back as he himself was driving, he collided head-on with another car. The other driver and his passengers escaped with minor injuries but, shortly before midnight, Prince Aly Khan died in a Paris hospital aged just forty-eight.