Nazli Sabri

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Nazli Sabri
Queen Consort of Egypt
Queen Nazli Sabri
Sultana of Egypt[1]
Tenure26 May 1919 – 15 March 1922
Queen consort of Egypt
Tenure15 March 1922 – 28 April 1936
Born(1894-06-25)25 June 1894
Alexandria, Khedivate of Egypt
Died29 May 1978(1978-05-29) (aged 83)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Khalil Sabri
(m. 1918; div. 1918)

(m. 1919; died 1936)
IssueFarouk I of Egypt
Fawzia, Queen of Iran
Princess Faiza
Princess Faika
Princess Fathia
Full name
Nazli Abdelrehim Sabri
HouseHouse of Muhammad Ali (by marriage)
FatherAbdelrehim Sabri Pasha
MotherTawfika Sharif
ReligionChristianity Catholic Church
previously. Sunni Islam

Nazli Sabri (Arabic: نازلي صبري‎; Turkish: Nazlı Sabri; 25 June 1894 – 29 May 1978) was the first queen consort in the Kingdom of Egypt from 1919 to 1936. She reigned as the second wife of Fuad, King of Egypt.

Early life[edit]

Nazli was born on 25 June 1894 into a family of Egyptian , Turkish and French origin.[2][3] Her father was Abdur Rahim Sabri Pasha,[4] minister of agriculture and governor of Cairo, and her mother was Tawfika Khanum Sharif. Nazli had a brother, Sherif Sabri Pasha, and a sister, Amina Sabri.[4]

She was the maternal granddaughter of Major General Mohamed Sherif Pasha, prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, who was of Turkish origin.[5] She was also a great-granddaughter of the French-born officer Suleiman Pasha.[6]

Nazli first went to the Lycée de la Mère-de-Dieu in Cairo, and later to the Collège Notre-Dame de Sion in Alexandria. Following the death of her mother, she and her sister were sent to a boarding school in Paris for two years. After returning, Nazli was forced to marry her Turkish cousin, Khalil Sabri.[2] However, the marriage ended in divorce after eleven months.[2] After the separation, she stayed at the house of Safiya Zaghloul, where she met Zaghloul's nephew Saeed Zaghloul; the two were engaged until Saeed broke up with her during his exile with his uncle Saad Zaghloul following the 1919 revolution.[2]


The Sultan of Egypt, Fuad I first saw Nazli at an opera performance.[7] On 12 May 1919, Fuad proposed to her, although he was 26 years her senior. On 24 May 1919 Nazli married Sultan Fuad I at Bustan Palace, Cairo. It was the second marriage for both Nazli and Fuad.[7] She later moved to the haramlek in the Abbasiya Palace. She was under pressure from her husband to produce a son, and was warned that she would be confined to the haremlek if she did not do so.

After the birth of their only son, Farouk, she was allowed to move into Koubbeh Palace -the official royal residence- with her husband.[8] When Fuad's title was altered to King, she was given the title of Queen. She then had four daughters: Fawzia, Faiza, Faika, and Fathia.

Restricted to the palace throughout most of Fuad's reign, she was permitted to attend opera performances, flower shows, and other ladies-only cultural events. As her upbringing had left her remarkably educated, cultured and emancipated for an Egyptian woman of the time, she found this prescribed existence backward and stifling.[9] It was said that whenever the royal couple fought, she was slapped by the king and confined to her suite for weeks. It was also alleged that she tried to commit suicide by overdosing on aspirin.

Nazli accompanied the king during part of his four-month tour of Europe in 1927, and was much fêted in France because of her French ancestry. With the inauguration of Parliament in 1924, she was among the royal attendees at the opening ceremony, seated in a special section of the guest gallery.[2]

Later years[edit]

Following the death of King Fuad in 1936, her son Farouk became the new King of Egypt, and she became the Queen Mother. Her brother Sherif Sabri Pasha served on the three-member Regency Council that was formed during Farouk's minority. In 1946, Nazli left Egypt and went to the United States for treatment for a kidney ailment.

In August 1950, King Farouk deprived the Queen Mother, and her daughter Princess Fathia of their rights and titles. This was due to latter's marriage, which Nazli supported, but was against Farouk's wishes, to Riyad Ghali Effendi, a Coptic Christian. Nazli later converted to Christianity, changing her name to Mary-Elizabeth.[9]

In 1955 Nazli purchased, for $63,000, a 28-room mansion in Beverley Hills, where she lived with Fathia, her son-in-law, and their two children, and led an active social life.[10]

In 1965, Nazli attended the funeral of Farouk, in Rome.[7]

Following Fathia's divorce, Nazli moved to a small apartment in Westwood, Los Angeles, where Fathia eventually joined her after temporarily moving to Hawaii.[11][9]

To meet debt demands, in 1975 Nazli sent her principal jewellery to auction at Sothebys, including a magnificent art deco tiara (720 diamonds weighing 274 carats) and matching necklace commissioned in 1938 from Van Cleef & Arpels.[12] They sold for $127,500 and $140,000 respectively. However, Nazli and Fathia still ended up in bankruptcy court. In 1978, Fathia's jewellery was also sold to meet debts.[11]

In 1976, President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, sent a proposal to Queen Nazli and Princess Fathia that passports would be provided to Queen Nazli and Princess Fathia to give them right of return to Egypt. Eventually she settled in the US, due to her painful illness.Queen Nazli refused to return to Egypt and was wearing a cross (reference Queen Nazli by an Egyptian magazine Akher Sa'a = Last Hour) . She died on 29 May 1978 at the age of 83 in Los Angeles, California.[13]


Queen Nazli's art deco necklace reappeared at a Sotheby's sale in December 2015. The Queen ordered the necklace with a matching tiara for her daughter's (Fawzia) wedding. The necklace is formed by 600 round and baguette diamonds arranged in a sunburst motif.[14]

Titles and styles[edit]

Royal styles of
Queen Nazli of Egypt
Coat of arms of Egypt (1922–1953).svg
Reference styleHer Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty
Alternative styleHanem
  • 26 May 1919 – 15 March 1922: Her Gloriness The Sultana (French: Sa Hautesse la Sultane; Arabic: عظمة السلطانة‎)[15]
  • 15 March 1922 – 20 January 1938: Her Majesty The Queen (French: Sa Majesté la Reine; Arabic: جلالة الملكة‎)[1]
  • 20 January 1938 – 8 August 1950: Her Majesty The Queen Mother (French: Sa Majesté la Reine Mère; Arabic: جلالة الملكة الام‎)[16]


National dynastic honour[edit]

Foreign honour[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2007, Queen Nazli was played by Egyptian actress Wafaa Amer in the Drama "El-malek Farouk".[21]

In 2008, Rawia Rashed published a book about Queen Nazli, titled Nazli, Malika Fi El Manfa (Nazli, A Queen in Exile).[7] Based on this book, an Egyptian TV series provided an account for the life of Queen Nazli, Queen in Exile, starring Egyptian actress Nadia Al Jundi in 2010.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rizk, Yunan Labib (13–19 April 2006). "A palace wedding". Al-Ahram Weekly (790). Archived from the original on 4 May 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2010. ... Britain granted the rulers among the family the title of sultan, a naming that was also applied to their wives.
  2. ^ a b c d e Rosten, David B (2015), "Queen Nazli Sabri", The Last Cheetah of Egypt: A Narrative History of Egyptian Royalty from 1805 to 1953, iUniverse, ISBN 978-1-4917-7939-2
  3. ^ Samir Raafat (March 2005). "Women whose husbands ruled the realm" (PDF). Egyptian Europe Organization. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 September 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b Hassan Hassan (1 January 2000). In the House of Muhammad Ali: A Family Album, 1805-1952. American Univ in Cairo Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-977-424-554-1. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  5. ^ Goldschmidt, Arthur (2000). Biographical dictionary of modern Egypt. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 191. ISBN 1-55587-229-8.
  6. ^ "Weekend Nostalgia". The Middle East Journal. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Ahmed Maged (6 February 2008). "Revealing book on Queen Nazli depicts her tragic life in exile". Daily News Egypt. Cairo. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  8. ^ Rosten, David B. (3 December 2015). The Last Cheetah of Egypt: A Narrative History of Egyptian Royalty from 1805 to 1953. iUniverse. ISBN 978-1-4917-7939-2.
  9. ^ a b c "Revealing book on Queen Nazli depicts her tragic life in exile". Daily News Egypt. 5 February 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  10. ^ Snapshots of Hollywood Collected at Random The Milwaukee Sentinel, 18 April 1955
  11. ^ a b Goodkind, Mike "Ex-princess loses last of fortune", The Free Lance Star, 21 September 1976
  12. ^ Former Queen Selling Jewels, Spokane Daily Chronicle, 28 October 1975
  13. ^ "Nazli". A Bit of History. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  14. ^ "Queen's Necklace Sells For $4.3M". Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Untitled Page" الملك فؤاد الأول أول أمير مصري يتزوج من الشعب وعلى منواله نسج الملك فاروق الأول [King Fuad I, the First Egyptian Prince to Marry a Commoner, and King Farouk I Follows in His Footsteps] (Reprint). Al Sabah (in Arabic): 29. 20 January 1938. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  16. ^ "King Farouk Strips Queen Nazli of Title". Daily Record. Ellensburg, WA. 41 (29): 4. 8 August 1950. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  17. ^ The Arabian Royals Agency. "The Arabian Royals Agency".
  18. ^ Blogspot
  19. ^ Blogspot
  20. ^ Wikimedia
  21. ^ El-malek Farouk, Salah Abdallah, Ezzat Abou Aouf, Ezzat Abou-Oat, retrieved 14 November 2017CS1 maint: others (link)
  22. ^ "Nadia Al Jundi fails". Albawaba. 4 September 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  • عودة، تيسير ، « اَلمَملَكَة اَلمَصريَة » ، چاپ دمنهور، سال 1959


External links[edit]

Egyptian royalty
Title last held by
Melek Tourhan
Sultana of Egypt
Became Queen
New title
Kingdom of Egypt established
Queen consort of Egypt
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