Queen Farida, King Farouk's first wife

Queen Farida, King Farouk's first wife

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Wed, 20/01/2010 - 17:11

Born in 1921 in Alexandria, Saphinaz Zulfikar, or Queen Farida, member of the Egyptian-Circassian family of Zulfikar, was King Farouk's first wife.

She first met King Farouk on a royal trip to London in 1937. They got officially engaged upon their return to Egypt in the summer of the same year. They married on 20 January 1938 at the Saraya el-Kubba Palace and Saphinaz was renamed "Farida" in accordance with the tradition that family members should bear the same initials.

Queen Farida had three daughters, Princesses Feryal, Fawziya and Fadia. After the birth of her third daughter, King Farouk divorced her, on 19 November 1948.

Queen Farida was a talented painter encouraged by her uncle, the renowned artist Mahmoud Said. Following her divorce Farida started painting again and held several art exhibitions in different countries.

Farida remained in Egypt until 1963. Then she traveled to Lebanon, Switzerland, finally settling down in Paris for a while. In 1982, she flew back to Egypt.

Her daughter Feryal once said that her mother had stashed away some personal documents belonging to her and King Farouk in a Swiss Bank. And Egyptian journalist Anis Mansour said that he had letters from Queen Farida which he described as "very private," but at no point has any of their content been published or disclosed.

Queen Farida died of leukemia on 17 October 1988.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.