|Valide sultan of Ottoman Empire|
|Former political post|
Flag of the Ottoman Empire
|First officeholder||Ayşe Hafsa Sultan|
|Last officeholder||Rahime Perestu Sultan|
|Style||Valide Sultan Efendi|
|Official residence||Topkapı Palace
|Appointer||Mothers of the Ottoman Sultan|
|Current pretender||Position abolished|
Valide sultan (Ottoman Turkish: والده سلطان, literally "Mother Sultan") was the title held by the mother of a ruling Sultan in the Ottoman Empire. The title was first used in the 16th century for Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, consort of Selim I and mother of Suleiman the Magnificent, superseding the previous title of mehd-i ülya (“cradle of the great”). The Turkish pronunciation of the word Valide is [vaː.liˈde]. The title is sometimes translated as queen mother, although the position of valide sultan was quite different.
The position was perhaps the most important position in the Ottoman Empire after the sultan himself. As the mother to the sultan, by Islamic tradition ("A mother's right is God's right"), the valide sultan would have a significant influence on the affairs of the empire. She had great power in the court and her own rooms (always adjacent to her sons) and state staff. In particular during the 17th century, in a period known as the Sultanate of Women, a series of incompetent or child sultans raised the role of the valide sultan to new heights.
The "Sultanate of Women" began with Hürrem Sultan and continued by Nurbanu Sultan, mother of Murad III. As valide sultan in 1574-1583, Nurbanu was the de facto co-ruler, and managed the government together with the Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha. The most powerful of all valide sultans and haseki sultans in the history of the Ottoman Empire was Kösem Sultan.
- Davis, Fanny (1986). "The Valide". The Ottoman Lady: A Social History from 1718 to 1918. ISBN 0-313-24811-7.
- Peirce, Leslie P., The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire, Oxford University Press, 1993, ISBN 0-19-508677-5 (paperback)
- Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh, ed. (1980). "The Imperial Family of Turkey". Burke's Royal Families of the World. Volume II: Africa & the Middle East. London: Burke's Peerage. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-85011-029-6.
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