Princess Nazli Fazil
Princess Zainab Nazlı Khanum Effendi [Princess Nazlı Fazıl] (1853 – 12 December 1913) was an Egyptian princess from the dynasty of Muhammad Ali of Egypt and one of the first women to revive the tradition of the literary salon in the Arab world, at her palace in Cairo from the 1880s through her death.
Princess Nazlı Fazıl was born in Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, in 1853, the eldest child of Mustafa Fazıl Pasha, son of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt and brother of the future Khedive Isma'il Pasha, and Dilazad Hanim. Her mother was Dilazad Khanum Effendi. At the age of 13, she left Egypt for Istanbul upon her father's falling out with his brother, the Khedive, in 1866. In Istanbul, she was highly educated, against prevailing tradition, and entertained foreign visitors. She was a well educated and cultured lady who spoke Turkish, Arabic, French and English, and also Italian and German.
In December 1872, she married Turkish ambassador Halil Şerif Paşa (Khalil Bey), and moved briefly to Paris with him on his last post there. It was not a happy marriage, and her one daughter, Hayya Khanum, died in infancy. Upon his death, she moved back to Cairo, Khedivate of Egypt, and settled in a palace located nearby the royal Abdeen Palace, named Villa Henry.
In this palace, she began hosting soirees, and was friendly with the intellectual elites of her day, including the Egyptians, Muhammad Abduh, Saad Zaghloul, and Qasim Amin, and the British, Lord Cromer and Herbert Kitchener. It is rumored that she was the individual who encouraged Saad Zaghlul to learn French in order to disseminate his writings more widely and also arranged his marriage to Safiyya Zaghlul. Additionally, it was at her insistence that Lord Cromer coordinated 'Abduh's return from exile in 1888.
In memoirs of her acquaintances, it is said that she had a quick wit and loved photographs, champagne, cigarettes and her pianola.
She died from cardiac failure and was buried at the Fazil Mausoleum, Imam al-Shafi’i.
- Honorary President of the Musulmane Sporting Society of Tunis (1906-1913).
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