The Aga Khan first married in 1969. His first wife Sarah (“Sally”) Frances Croker-Poole converted to Islam and took the name (Begum) Salimah Aga Khan. She gave him three children, one daughter and two sons. But not long after their wedding the Aga Khan lost his interest and took his first mistress.
It has since become a pattern with him, though he had been a known womanizer even before his first marriage. The Aga Khan likes beautiful women and he lavishes gifts and attention on them as long as he is interested in them. But once that interest wanes, he moves on to the next woman.
Sally put up with him and his changing mistresses for 25 years. Whilst the Aga Khan returned to her often enough to have three children with her, they never really lived together as a married couple once he had taken his first mistress.
When Salimah was divorced from him, she was awarded £20 million. She has since remarried and still has relationships with all her children, but probably most closely with her daughter.
Not long after his divorce from Sally, the Aga Khan got together with Gabriele zu Leiningen, who is German, was a pop singer for a little while, belongs to the German aristocracy and was a UK-based lawyer at the time.
The two were married in 1998 in a surprisingly secret ceremony. They had one son together in 2000 and round about the same time the Aga Khan lost interest in his wife. Gabriele had to have known about his reputation and his pattern, but she married him anyway. If she hoped to be the one to change his ways, she would have been sorely disappointed.
Despite his advanced age the Aga Khan didn’t seem to want to slow down.
Finally Gabriele had enough and the couple separated in 2004, divorcing in 2005. In a manner of speaking anyway. The divorce wasn’t actually settled. In the UK Gabriele may have been awarded a sum of nearly half a billion pound, but the Aga Khan wouldn’t cooperate and the case collapsed. Since the Aga Khan lives in France most of the time, he had the divorce proceedings moved there, because France usually doesn’t hand out huge sums to ex-wives.
In 2001 Gabriele was awarded £10.3 million. But a higher court later awarded her £54 million. Whilst that was far less than the Aga Khan could have ended up paying in the UK, he refused regardless and dragged the settlement on another three years.
In the end, after 10 years of litigation and undoubtedly battling out the most expensive divorce settlement case in history (a case spanning 10 years would have been rather expensive indeed), the estranged couple finally settled on £50 million, a sum the Aga Kha could have paid years earlier.
Whilst that money hardly makes a dent in his fortune, the Aga Khan was clearly loathe to part with it.
Since 2006 he’s been seeing Beatrice von der Schulenberg, who has been more or less touted as Begum number three for years now. Given that his previous marriage was only really settled in 2014, however, it’s hardly surprising that they have not married yet.
The Aga Khan is 79 years old now, questions of his successor are much more pertinent these days than questions of getting married again. Beatrice is considered the most easy-going and relaxed among his ex-wives and ex-girlfriends, which may be the reason she is still by his side.
At his age he may not be the womanizer her once was and having someone by his side is better than not having someone by his side. But that doesn’t mean that he will get married again.