The final King of Afghanistan, he reigned from 1933 until 1973. After the monarchy fell to an early 1970s coup orchestrated by his cousin, Mohammed Daoud Khan, he was exiled from his native country for nearly thirty years.
During his young adulthood years, he studied in France at both the University of Montpellier and the Pasteur Institute. Before his twentieth birthday, he became Shah following his father's assassination.
While in exile in Italy, he survived a 1991 assassination attempt.
His marriage to his cousin Humaira Begum resulted in eight children.
His grandson, Mustafa Zahir, was considered as a candidate for the 2009 Afghan presidential election that was eventually won by incumbent Hamid Karzai.