Farouk and Narriman: Egypt’s Last Royal Romance

A private photo collection marks the 60th anniversary of the July 23 Revolution and the end of the Royal Family’s reign in Egypt

On January 26, 1952, Egyptian rioters, spurred on by political extremists from both the left and right, took to the streets of Cairo, burning everything they considered British or foreign-influenced. After that fateful “Black Saturday,” dozens of foreigners, mainly British, lay dead and hundreds of businesses and treasured landmarks, including the Shepherd Hotel were burned to the ground.

Six months later King Farouk, who was vacationing with his teenage wife Narriman and their newborn son, at Alexandria’s Montazah Palace, received the dreaded news that Egypt was no longer his. In the course of three days the royal family was ordered to abdicate, pack their personal belongings and leave. At 6pm on the evening of July 26, Farouk, his wife, son and three daughters from his previous marriage, were sent sailing into exile on the royal yacht HMS Mahroussa, by the Free Officers, led by Gamal Abd-el-Nasser. The royal family’s departure marked the end of the Mohammed Ali Dynasty’s 140-year rule. Ironically the Mahroussa was the same boat that took Farouk’s grandfather, Ismail, into exile three quarters of a century earlier.

This collection of photographs showing the last royal romance is from my personal archives and marks the 60th anniversary of the July 23 Revolution that overthrew the Royal Family in Egypt.

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