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Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III (née Yvette Labrousse)

(1906-2000), Philanthropist, model and sculptor

Sitter in 4 portraits
Born Yvonne Blanche Labrousse in Sète, France but she preferred to call herself Yvette. Her beauty won her the title of Ms Lyon in 1929 and later that year she was crowned Miss France, aged 24. Her career as a beauty queen afforded her opportunities to travel. In the late 1930s she moved to Egypt, a place that had captured her heart on a previous visit. She later embraced Islam as her chosen faith. In 1944 she married Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III, 13 months after he divorced his third wife. The couple would remain lifelong partners. Known as ‘The Begum’ in her Egyptian circles she was well admired and respected for her philanthropy which focused on women and the elderly. She founded the Om Habibeh Foundation which aided underprivileged women in the Aswan area of Egypt. In France she established a retirement home in Le Cannet where she spent her twilight years as a widow. She died at the age of 94 and was buried in the mausoleum of her husband at Aswan.

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