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Haseki sultan (Ottoman Turkish: خاصکی سلطان) was the title of a concubine of the Ottoman Sultan who gave birth to a şehzade (prince); thus meaning Mother of a Prince. Haseki sultan had an important place in the palace, being the second most powerful woman of the harem after the valide sultan, the mother of the sultan.
Haseki sultans usually had chambers close to the sultan's chamber. Also, since they were the women with whom the sultan mostly went to bed, they were generally the mother of the heir apparent. Nonetheless, a haseki sultan was rarely a wife and didn't have a solid position in the palace. She could lose her entire estate in a day. The mother of the sultans eldest son was known as Baş (head) Haseki sultan progressing if her son became Sultan, to Valide Sultan, the most powerful woman in the Ottoman Empire. If the son of a haseki sultan died, she was sent to the Sultan's old palace.
Those who did not succeed in gaining the attention of the Sultan might, infertile or past child-bearing age, be made over to the princes, for whom procreation was prohibited, or the lucky ones might be married off to pages from the Palace School when they graduated to postings outside the palace.
The title was first used in the 16th century for Hürrem Sultan, also known as Roxelana, when she was given favor by Sultan Suleiman I. She was his consort and the mother of Selim II. Hürrem Sultan was married to Sultan Suleiman, becoming both his legal wife and the most powerful woman in the Topkapı Palace.
Suleiman I, Selim II, Murad III, Ahmed I, Ibrahim I and Mehmed IV's wives Hürrem Sultan, Nurbanu Sultan, Safiye Sultan, Kösem Sultan, Hüma Şah Sultan and Gülnuş Sultan were haseki sultans of the Ottoman sultans and some of them were famous during the "Sultanate of Women".
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