Abdulmejid II

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Abdulmejid II
Caliph of Islam
Amir al-Mu'minin
Portrait Caliph Abdulmecid II.jpg
A portrait of Abdulmejid II
37th Caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate
Tenure 18 November 1922 – 3 March 1924
Predecessor Mehmed VI
Successor Caliphate abolished
Head of the House of Osman
(in exile)
Pretence 16 May 1926 – 23 August 1944
Predecessor Mehmed VI
Successor Ahmed Nihad
Born 29/30 May 1868[1][2]
Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire (now Turkey)
Died 23 August 1944(1944-08-23) (aged 76)
Paris, France
Consorts Şehsuvar Kadın
Hayrünissa Kadın
Mehisti Kadın
Behruze Kadın
Issue Şehzade Omer Faruk
Dürrüşehvar Sultan
Full name
Abdul Mecid bin Abdul Aziz
House Osmanli (Ottoman)
Father Abdulaziz
Mother Hayranidil Kadın

Abdulmejid II (Ottoman Turkish: عبد المجید الثانی‎, Abd al-Madjeed al-ThâniTurkish: Halife İkinci Abdülmecit Efendi (29 May 1868 – 23 August 1944) was the last Caliph of Islam, nominally the 37th Head of the Ottoman Imperial House from 1922 to 1924.


On 30 May 1868,[1][2] he was born at Dolmabahçe Palace or at Beşiktaş Palace, Beşiktaş, Istanbul, to then Sultan Abdulaziz and his wife Hayranidil Kadın Efendi. He was educated privately.

According to custom, Abdulmecid was confined to the palace until he was 40. On 4 July 1918, his first cousin Mehmed VI became Sultan and Abdul Mejid was named Crown Prince.[1] Following the deposition of his cousin on 1 November 1922, the Sultanate was abolished. But on 18 November 1922, the Crown Prince was elected Caliph by the Turkish National Assembly at Ankara.[1] He established himself in Constantinople[3][4] on 24 November 1922.

On 3 March 1924, six months after the foundation of the Turkish Republic, the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished and the Ottoman dynasty was deposed and expelled from Turkey.[5]


Abdulmejid's painting of his wife.

Abdulmejid was given the title of General in the Ottoman Army, but did not in fact have strong military inclinations, and his more significant role was as Chairman of the Ottoman Artists' Society.

He is considered as one of the most important painters of late period Ottoman art.

His paintings of the Harem, showing a modern musical gathering, and of his wife, Şehsuvar Kadınefendi, reading Goethe's Faust.[6] were displayed at an exhibition of Ottoman paintings in Vienna in 1918. His personal self-portrait can be seen at Istanbul Modern.

Abdulmejid was an avid collector of butterflies, an activity that he occupied himself with during the last 20 years of his life. His favourite magazine was Revue des deux Mondes.[6]


On 23 August 1944, Abdulmejid II died at his house in the Boulevard Suchet, Paris. His death coincided with the Liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation. He was buried in Medina, Saudi Arabia by the order of King Saud of Saudi Arabia.


Princess Dürrühsehvar, Princess of Berar; Caliph Abdulmecid II of the Ottoman Empire, and Nawab Azam Jah, Prince of Berar.

First marriage and issue[edit]

He married firstly at Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, on 22/23 December 1896 to HH Şehsuvar Kadın (Constantinople, 2 May 1881 – Paris, 1945, buried there at Bobigny Cemetery), daughter of a Circassian court attendant, and had:

  • Prince Şehzade Ömer Faruk (Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, 27/29 February 1898 – 28 March 1969/1971), married firstly at Yıldız Palace on 29 April 1920 to his cousin Princess Rukiye Sabiha Sultan Kadın (Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, 19 March/1 April 1894 – Istanbul, 26 August 1971), and had three daughters, and married secondly in İskenderiye on 31 July 1948 to his cousin Princess Mihriban Mihrishah Sultan Kadın (Constantinople, Beşiktaş, Beşiktaş Palace, 1 June 1916 – Istanbul, 25 January 1987), without issue:
    • Princess Fatma Neslişah Osmanoğlu Sultan (Constantinople, Nişantaşı, Nişantaşı Palace, 4 February 1921 – 1 April 2012), married in Heliopolis Palace, Cairo, on 26 September 1940 to her cousin Damat Prince Muhammad Abdel Moneim (Alexandria, Montaza Palace, 20 February 1899 – Istanbul, 1/2 December 1979, buried in Cairo), heir apparent to the throne of Egypt from 1899 to 1914, created HH in 1922, created HRH in 1952, Regent of Egypt from 1952 to 1953, and had issue
    • Princess Zehra Hanzade Sultan (Constantinople, Dolmabahçe Palace, 12 September 1923 – Paris, 19 March 1998, buried on 26 March 1998), married in Cairo in September 1940 to Damat Prince Muhammad Ali Ibrahim (Cairo, 29 April 1900 – Paris, 2 July 1977), and had issue:
      • Nabila Sabiha Fazila Ibrahim Hanımsultan (b. Neuilly-sur-Seine, 8 August 1941), was the fiance of King Faisal II of Iraq until 1958 when the king was killed. Few years later she married Kheri Oglu, together they had two sons Ali and Saleem
      • Nabil Sultanzade Ahmad Rifat Ibrahim (b. 31 August 1942), married on 26 June 1969 to Emine Ushakidil, without issue
    • Princess Necla Heybetullah Sultan (Nice, 15 May 1926 – 16 October 2006), married in Cairo in February 1943 to Nabil Amr Ibrahim (Cairo, 18 April 1903 – 1977), and had issue:
      • Prince Nabil Sultanzade Osman Rifat Ibrahim Beyefendi (b. 20 May 1951), unmarried and without issue
Standard of Abdulmejid II.

Second marriage[edit]

He married secondly at Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, on 18 June 1902 to HH Hayrünissa Kadın (Bandırma, 2 March 1876 – Nice, 3 September 1936), without issue.

Third marriage and issue[edit]

He married thirdly at Constantinople, Üsküdar, Çamlıca Palace, on 16 April 1912 to Mehisti Kadın (Adapazarı, 27 January 1892 – London, Middlesex, 1964), daughter of Akalsba Hacımaf Bey, by his wife Safiye Hanım, and had:

Fourth marriage[edit]

He married fourthly at Constantinople, Üsküdar, Çamlıca Palace, on 21 March 1921 to HH Behruze Kadın (Izmir, 24 May 1903 - c. 1955, Istanbul, Turkey), without issue.

Photo of Abdulmejid II during his exile


  1. ^ a b c d Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abdümecid II". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8. 
  2. ^ a b There are sources that give the 29th as the day of his birth.
  3. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.7, Edited by Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 3; Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire...
  4. ^ Britannica, Istanbul:When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, the capital was moved to Ankara, and Constantinople was officially renamed Istanbul in 1930.
  5. ^ Caroline Finkel (2007). "Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire". Basic Books. p. 546. ISBN 9780465008506. 
  6. ^ a b "The Ottoman caliphate: Worldly, pluralist, hedonistic—and Muslim, too". The Economist. 19 December 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 

External links[edit]

Abdulmejid II
Born: 29 May 1868 Died: 23 August 1944
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Mehmed VI
Last Caliph of Islam
Ottoman Caliph
19 November 1922 – 3 March 1924
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Mehmed VI
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
19 November 1922 – 23 August 1944
Reason for succession failure:
Empire abolished in 1922
Succeeded by
Ahmed Nihad
Caliph of Islam
3 March 1924 – 23 August 1944
Reason for succession failure:
Caliphate abolished on March 3, 1924
Caliphate abolished in 1924
(The religious position and the official representation of the caliph's powers was transferred to Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı)