Neslishah: The Last Ottoman Princess

This biography of Neslishah Sultan, born in Constantinople in 1921 and who died in that same city—renamed Istanbul—at age 91 after decades in exile, is a royal roller coaster through Middle Eastern and European 20th-century history. The granddaughter of the last Ottoman sultan, Mehmed VI (1861–1926), and the last Ottoman caliph, Abdülmecid II (1868–1944), Princess Neslishah was as purebred as they come. She and her family fled for France when she was three, when Turkey became a republic. Raised in Nice, she married at 16 into the Egyptian royal family, only to face exile once more after Egypt’s monarchy was overthrown in 1952. Neslishah “often faced financial problems, political turmoil” and a painful longing for home. Yet, as the last surviving member of the Ottoman dynasty born during Ottoman times, she “never relinquished” her sense of identity as a royal, writes Bardakçı. This translation of the 2011 Turkish biography features lengthy excerpts from interviews with the princess, as well as numerous family photographs.

Neslishah: The Last Ottoman Princess

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