Under rich arches of carpets, gay flats and strings of coloured light, crowds of Persians began gathering in Teheran, Oct 20, awaiting the birth of a child to Queen Farah, who became the third wife of the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi last December.
Night shots of illuminated arches and signs in Molavi Street
Illuminated shop windows and signs outside houses
People waiting outside hospital
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Background: Under rich arches of carpets, gay flats and strings of coloured light, crowds of Persians began gathering in Teheran, Oct 20, awaiting the birth of a child to Queen Farah, who became the third wife of the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi last December.
Festive music was played through street loudspeakers as the throngs - women predominant among them, wearing black veils and carrying their children - patiently stood in the street, hoping to see the 22-year-old Queen drive by on her way to hospital.
While the Queen's surgeon has set the date of birth as Oct 24, a Persian astrologer has predicted Oct 20 as the beginning of the Queen's labour. He has also forecast that the child would be a boy.
From the morning, the east wing of the Public Hospital in Teheran in which the Queen will bear her child was closed. The ???1 million building, opened only last year by the Shah, is a maternity clinic reserved for poorer Persians, and its patron is the Queen herself.
Most of the 19 million Persians join their 41-year-old ruler in the fervent hope for a boy, for the Persian Constitution prohibits a woman from ascending the Throne. As in 13 centuries if Islam this law has never been transgressed, an heir is essential for the Pahlavi family to maintain possession of the Peacock Throne.