Connecting with royalty through table tennis

Hayedeh Riahi, keen knitter

I was born in Kurdistan, a province of Iran. In high school I enjoyed playing table tennis both competitively and for fun.

When I was 19, my team travelled to Tehran, the capital of Iran, to take part in the national table tennis championship for high school girls’ teams.

The Patron of our sport was Imperial Majesty Empress Farah Pahvali, who strongly promoted women’s participation in sport, culture, science and other areas.

Although my team did not make the finals, we had an opportunity to have a photo taken with the Queen. She was very kind and talked to all of us.

When the political situation changed in Iran I migrated and so did Empress Pahvali, though to different countries.

I have fond memories of meeting the Queen. It was an inspiring experience.

Each year I send her an email with birthday wishes, and she always sends a reply.

Photo with Empress Pahvali. Hayedeh is in the third row (far left), wearing glasses.