Farouk of Egypt

Farouk I
فاروق الأول
King Farouk I in military uniform
King of Egypt and the Sudan[1]
Reign28 April 1936 – 26 July 1952
Coronation29 July 1937[2]
PredecessorFuad I
SuccessorFuad II
Prime Ministers
Born(1920-02-11)11 February 1920
Abdeen Palace, Cairo, Sultanate of Egypt
Died18 March 1965(1965-03-18) (aged 45)
San Camilo Hospital, Rome, Italy
SpouseFarida (née Safinaz Zulficar)
(m. 1938; div. 1948)
Narriman Sadek
(m. 1951; div. 1954)
IssuePrincess Ferial
Princess Fawzia
Princess Fadia
Fuad II of Egypt
Full name
Farouk bin Ahmed Fuad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin Muhammad Ali bin Ibrahim Agha
DynastyMuhammad Ali Dynasty
FatherFuad I of Egypt
MotherNazli Sabri
SignatureFarouk I فاروق الأول's signature

Farouk I (k/; Arabic: فاروق الأولFārūq al-Awwal; 11 February 1920 – 18 March 1965) was the tenth ruler of Egypt from the Muhammad Ali dynasty and the penultimate King of Egypt and the Sudan, succeeding his father, Fuad I, in 1936.[3]

His full title was "His Majesty Farouk I, by the grace of God, King of Egypt and the Sudan, Sovereign of Nubia, of Kordofan and of Darfur". He was overthrown in the 1952 military coup d'état and forced to abdicate in favour of his infant son, Ahmed Fuad, who succeeded him as Fuad II. Farouk died in exile in Italy in 1965.

His sister, Princess Fawzia Fuad, was the first wife and consort of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.[4]

Early life and education

He was born as His Sultanic Highness Farouk bin Fuad, Hereditary Prince of Egypt and Sudan, on 11 February 1920 (Guimadea I, 1338 in Muslim years) at Abdeen Palace, Cairo, the eldest child of Sultan Fuad I (later King Fuad I) and his second wife, Nazli Sabri.[5][6] He was of 10/16 Circassian (bilineal), 3/16 Turkish (bilineal), 2/16 French (matrilineal) and 1/16 Albanian (patrilineal) descent.[7][8][9] Farouk was always proud of his Albanian heritage and as king, he was protected by 30 Albanian bodyguards as he regarded Albanians as the only people he could trust with his life.[10] Despite the Albanian origin of his house, Farouk in common with the other members of Egypt's Ottoman elite had more Circassian blood in him as Mohammad Ali the Great and his successors were fond of their Circassian slave girls, which were one of the most prized possessions of an Ottoman official.[11] As a child, Farouk met his grandmother, a woman with one arm.[12][12]Farouk's first languages were Turkish and French (the languages of the Egyptian elite), and he always thought of himself as an Egyptian rather than as an Arab, having no interest in Arab nationalism except as a way of increasing Egypt's power in the Middle East.[13] Until the 1952 revolution, Egypt was dominated by an elite made up of interrelated families of Turkish, Circassian and Albanian origin known to historians as the Turco-Circassian elite who owned most of the land, upon which the fellahen (Egyptian peasants) toiled upon as tenant farmers. The Turco-Circassian aristocracy made up less than 1% of the population, but owned 3/4 of all the farmland in Egypt.[14] Egypt under the rule of the Mohammad Ali dynasty was characterized by some of the starkest income disparities in the world as the rich in Egypt tended to be extremely rich while the poor tended to be extremely poor.[14]

In addition to his sisters, Fawzia, Faiza, Faika and Fathia,[15] he had one half-sister from his father's previous marriage to Princess Shivakiar Khanum Effendi, Princess Fawkia. Fuad gave all of his children names starting with F after an Indian fortune-teller told him names starting with F would bring him good luck.[16] King Fuad kept tight control over his only son when he was growing up and Farouk was only allowed to see his mother once every day for an hour.[17] The prince grew up in the very closeted world of the royal palaces, and he never visited the Great Pyramids at Giza until he became king, despite the fact that only 12 miles separated the Abdeen Palace from the Pyramids.[18] Farouk had a very spoiled upbringing with the servants when meeting him always getting down on their knees to first kiss the ground and then his hand.[19] Aside from his sisters, Farouk had no friends when growing up as Fuad would not allow any outsiders to meet him.[20]

Fuad, who did not speak Arabic, insisted that the crown prince learn Arabic so he could talk to his subjects.[18] Farouk become fluent in classical Arabic, the language of the Koran, and he always gave his speeches in classical Arabic.[21] As a child Farouk showed a facility for languages, learning Arabic, English, French and Italian, which were the only subjects he excelled in.[18] The more honest of Farouk's tutors often wrote comments on his childhood essays such as "Improve your bad handwriting and pay attention to the cleanliness of your notebook" and "It is regrettable that you not know the history of your ancestors".[18] The more sycophantic of his tutors wrote comments like "Excellent. A brilliant future awaits you in the world of literature" on an essay that began with the sentence "My father had a lot of ministers and I have a cat".[18] Farouk was known for his love of practical jokes, a trait that continued on as an adult, for instance he liked to free the quail that the game keepers had captured on the grounds of the Montaza Palace and he once used an air gun to shoot out the windows at the Koubbeh Palace.[22] When Queen Marie of Romania visited the Koubbeh Palace to see Queen Nazli, Farouk asked her if she wanted to see his two horses; when she answered in the positive, Farouk had the horses brought into the royal harem, which greatly displeased the two queens as the animals defecated all over the floor.[23] Farouk's Swedish au pair, Gerda Sjoberg, wrote in her diary: "The truth doesn't exist in Egypt. Breaking promises is normal. Farouk is already perfect at this. He loves to lie. But it's amazing Farouk is a good as he, given his mother".[12] Knowing of his family's genetic predisposition to obesity, King Fuad kept Farouk on a strict diet, warning him that the male descendants of Mohammad Ali the Great tended to get obese very easily.[18]

Farouk's closest friend when growing up and later as an adult was the Italian electrician at the Abdeen Palace, Antonio Pulli, who became one of Egypt's most powerful men during his reign...[22][23][24] An attempt to enlist Farouk at Eton was thwarted when he failed the entrance exams.[21] Before his father's death, he was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, England. The Italophile Fuad wanted to have Farouk educated at the Turin Military Academy, but the British High Commissioner Sir Miles Lampson vetoed this choice as growing Italian claims for the entire Mediterranean to be Mare Nostum ("Our Sea") made it unacceptable for the Crown Prince to be educated in Italy.[21]

In October 1935, Farouk left Egypt to settle at Kenry House in the countryside of Surrey to attend the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich as an extramural student.[23] Farouk attended classes occasionally at "the Shop", as the academy was known, to prepare himself for the entrance exam.[25] Farouk stayed at Kenry House and twice a week was driven in a Rolls-Royce to the Royal Military Academy to attend classes, but still failed the entrance exam.[25] One of Farouk's tutors, General Aziz Ali al-Misri, complained to King Fuad that the principle problem with Farouk as a student was he never studied and expected the answers to be given to him when he wrote his exam.[26] Instead of studying, Farouk spent his time in London where he went shopping, attended football matches with the Prince of Wales, and visited restaurants and brothels.[27] Farouk's other tutor, the famous desert explorer, Olympic athlete and poet Ahmed Hassanein reported to King Fuad that Farouk was studying hard, but the inability of the crown prince to pass entrance exams supports General al-Misri's reports.[26] When King George V died, Farouk represented Egypt at his funeral in Westminster Abbey.[28]

On 28 April 1936, King Fuad died of a heart attack and Farouk left England to return to Egypt as king.[28] Farouk's first act as king was to visit Buckingham Palace to accept the condolences of King Edward VIII, one of the few Englishmen whom Farouk liked, and then he went to Victoria station to take a train to Dover and was seen off by the Foreign Secretary, Sir Anthony Eden.[29] At Dover, Farouk boarded a French ship, the Côte d'Azur, which took him to Calais.[29] After a stop in Paris to shop and visit the Elysee Palace, Farouk took the train to Marseilles, where he boarded an ocean liner, the Viceroy of India to take him to Alexandria, where he landed on 6 May 1936.[29] Upon landing in Alexandria, Farouk was greeted by huge crowds who shouted "Long live the king of the Nile!" and "Long live the king of Egypt and the Sudan!".[29] In 1936, Farouk was known by his subjects as al malik al mahbub ("the beloved king").[30] Besides inheriting the throne, Farouk also received all of the land that his father had acquired, which amounted to one seventh of all the arable land in Egypt.[31] As the Nile river valley has some of the most fertile and productive farmland in the entire world, this was a considerable asset.[32] Fuad left Farouk a fortune worth about $100 million U.S dollars (a sum worth $1,806,523,980.82 dollars US dollars today) plus 75,000 acres of land in the Nile river valley, five palaces, 200 cars and 2 yachts.[32] Farouk's biographer, William Stadiem, wrote: " Yet no pharaoh, no Mameluke, no khedive ever began a reign with such unquestionable, enthusiastic goodwill as King Farouk. And none was as unprepared to rule. Here was a completely sheltered, virtually uneducated sixteen-year old, expected to fill the spats of his wily, politically astute father in a loaded tug-of-war between nationalism, imperialism, constitutionalism, and monarchy".[32]

Other Languages
العربية: فاروق الأول
беларуская: Фарук I
български: Фарук I
català: Faruk I
čeština: Farúk I.
Deutsch: Faruq
eesti: Fārūq I
español: Faruq de Egipto
Esperanto: Faruk la 1-a
فارسی: فاروق یکم
한국어: 파루크 1세
hrvatski: Faruk I.
Bahasa Indonesia: Farouk dari Mesir
Bahasa Melayu: Raja Farouk I
Nederlands: Faroek van Egypte
polski: Faruk I
português: Faruque do Egito
русский: Фарук I
slovenščina: Faruk
српски / srpski: Фарук I Египатски
suomi: Faruk
Türkçe: I. Faruk
українська: Фарук I