Şehzade (Ottoman Turkish: شاهزاده) is Turkish form of the Persian title Shahzade and refers to male descendants of Ottoman sovereign in the male line. This title equivalent with "imperial prince" in English.
Şehzade is title derived from Persian origin shahzadeh or shahzada. In the realm of a shah (or a more lofty derived ruler style), a prince or princess of the blood was logically called shahzada as the term is derived from shah using the Persian patronymic suffix -zādeh or -zada, meaning 'son of', 'daughter of', 'descendant of', or 'born of'. However the precise full styles can differ in the court traditions of each monarchy. This title was used by the princes of the Mughal Empire in India and princesses called shahzadi.
Usage in Ottoman royalty
In Ottoman royalty, the title şehzade is used for male descendants of sovereigns in the male line. In formal address, this title is used with title sultan before their given name, reflecting the Ottoman conception of sovereign power as family prerogative. Only şehzades had the right to ascend to the throne in Ottoman succession. Before the reign of Mehmed II, sons of sultans used the title Çelebi after their name.
The formal way of addressing a şehzade is Devletlû Najabatlu Şehzade Sultan (given name) Hazretleri Efendi, i.e. Sultan Imperial Prince (given name) or simply Imperial Prince (given name). The style of consorts of şehzades are hanimefendi. Sons of şehzades also carried the same title as their fathers and daughters of şehzades hold the title sultan after their name. This all titles are still used by the Osmanoğlu family.
Ottoman Crown Prince
Ottoman used title "Vali Ahad" or "Veli Ahd" (Ottoman Turkish: ولایتعهد), meaning 'successor by virtue of a covenant', for crown prince. The full style of Ottoman crown prince was Devletlû Najabatlu Valiahd-i Saltanat Şehzade-i Javanbahd (given name) Efendi Hazretleri. Title for consort of Vali Ahad was "Vali Ahad Zevcesi". Full style of Vali Ahad's consort was Veliahd Zevcesi (given name) (rank) Hanımefendi Hazretleri.
There is no feminine equivalent of şehzade or special title for princess in Ottoman royalti. In Persian, shahzade used for both male and female descendants of monarch, princes and princesses. Mughal royalti used the title shahzada for prince and feminine equivalent of this title, shahzadi, for princess.
Before 16th century, Ottoman imperial princesses and sultan's consorts held the same title after their given name, hatun, Turkish form of the Mongolian title khatun, feminine equivalent of khan. By the beginning of the 16th century, in short way, Ottoman princesses just held the title sultan after their given name, title which also held by other prominent members of the Ottoman imperial family, emperor (together with khan), prince (together with title şehzade), emperor's legal mother (together with title valide), chief consort of emperor (together with title haseki), daughter of princess (together with title hanim), and son of princess (together with Persian patronymic suffix -zāde). This usage underlines the Ottoman conception of sovereign power as family prerogative.
The formal way of addressing an Ottoman princess is Devletlû İsmetlu (given name) Sultân Aliyyetü'ş-Şân Hazretleri, i.e. Sultana (given name). The title of sons of princesses are sultanzade and daughters of princesses are hanimsultan. The title of princesses' husbands are damat. This all titles are still used by the Osmanoğlu family. Sultana, title which usually referred for sultan's women relative by Westerner, is not exist in Ottoman. Nevertheless, westerners often translated their official title, sultan, to sultana, possibly to distinguish them from the Ottoman ruler.
Example of imperial princes (şehzade sultans)
- Şehzade Mustafa (1515–1553), son of Suleiman the Magnificent. His story was very popular, especially rumor around his execution in 1553. In 1561, eight years after Mustafa's death, the French author Gabriel Bounin wrote a tragedy titled La Soltane about the role of Hürrem Sultan in Mustafa's death. This tragedy marks the first time the Ottomans were introduced on stage in France.
- Şehzade Yahya (1585–1649), son of Murat III. He was baptized at an Orthodox Christian monastery and gain support for his claim to the throne from his nephew Ahmed I.
- Abdülmecid II (29 May 1868 – 23 August 1944), son of Abdülaziz. He was only şehzade who held title caliph in the same time. Ottoman caliph before Abdülmecid held the title caliph when they became emperor.
- Bayezid Osman (23 June 1924 - 6 January 2017), second son of Sultan Abdülmecid I's grandson Ibrahim Tevfik. He was the 44th Head of the Imperial House of Osman from 23 September 2009 until 6 January 2017.
Example of imperial princesses (sultans)
- Mihrimah Sultan (21 March 1522 – 25 January 1578), daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent. She was most powerful imperial princess in the Ottoman history and one of the prominent figure during Sultanate of Women. Her ability and power and her running the affairs of the harem in the same manner in which only sultan's mother did, and even more, made Mihrimah was often referred as Valide Sultan for Selim II, although she was not called by this title on any historical record.
- Fatma Sultan (1605/1606 – after 1667), daughter of Ahmed I. She was known for her many political marriages.
- Ayşe Sultan (2 November 1887 - 10 August 1960), daughter of Abdülhamid II. She was known for publishing her memoirs by the name of Babam Sultan Abdülhamid in 1960.
- Ayşe Gülnev Sultan (born 17 January 1971), great-great-great-granddaughter of Murad V. She is a director of property investment and development companies, and writes and researches historical pieces on Ottoman history.