Egypt celebrates July 23rd as its national day -- the anniversary of the revolution that led to the overthrow of the monarchy.
Egypt celebrates July 23rd as its national day -- the anniversary of the revolution that led to the overthrow of the monarchy. It is now 25 years since the last reigning King, Farouk, was forced to abdicate, and the first moves were made towards the establishment of the modern republic.
SYNOPSIS: This was ex-King Farouk as he was remembered -- a plump, ageing playboy, whiling away his time in Mediterranean holiday resorts. His second wife, Narriman, and their baby son Ahmed Fuad went with him to their first home on Capri.
He was only 16 when he was recalled from military training in Britain on the death of his father, King Fuad I, in 1936. A year later, he officially came of age, and was crowned. Farouk looked set for a long and successful reign as a popular monarch. He had a pretty young bride, Queen Farida -- daughter of an Egyptian judge.
But he never came to terms with either the ruling political party or the aspirations of the Egyptian people. In January 1952, widespread rioting broke out -- directed mainly against the British and other foreign residents and businesses.
A coup six months later installed General Mohammed Neguib as head of the Revolutionary Command Council; but a certain Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser was the moving spirit among the group of young officers who carried it out. When Neguib was appointed Prime Minister, Nasser became his deputy, but remained in the background for the time being.
It was the end of the road for Farouk, who was sent into exile. The ex-king was branded as a man who had lived in luxury at the expense of his people. All the property he left behind -- including gold and jewellery in his palace -- was confiscated. When he fled, Farouk denied that he had any fortune overseas, or had brought any great wealth away with him.
He was only 45 when he died in Rome, in 1965. By then, he had divorced Princess Narriman. Their son, Ahmed Fuad, who was 13, headed the mourners at his funeral. The young Fuad, who had been only seven month old when his father abdicated, had been proclaimed king as his successor. But a year later, the monarchy in Egypt was abolished altogether.
It was not long before Colonel Nasser emerged as the true leader of the revolution. In 1954, he ousted the figurehead, General ??? and took over, first as Prime Minister, and then as Head of State. The modern Arab Republic Egypt began to emerge from the ashes of the monarchy.