Friday, August 9, 2013

Poor Little Rich Boy

King Farouk was Time's cover boy 76 years ago today, in a pensive study that is captioned with his grandiose formal title.

"Sovereign of Nubia, the Sudan, Kordofan and Darfur, King of Egypt."  Has kind of a ring to it, doesn't it?  It's easy to forget that Egypt, in royal times, reached a great deal further south than it has of late.  Even more surprising is the subhead:  "The most perfectly brought up boy in the world."  His Majesty, you see, however grave he looks, is a mere 17.  He's been King for a year, since the death of his father King Fouad, and in '37 is a year away from his first marriage, to the beautiful but sadly only girl-fertile Queen Farida (the family went in for Fs - Farouk's sisters were Fawzia, Faika, Ferial, and Fathia, and his daughters rejoiced in Ferial, Fawzia, and Fadia.  His son, by his second wife Nariman, is Ahmed Fouad, today known to some, if not the Egyptian government, as H.M. King Fouad II).

Farouk ended his life as a walking, talking, carousing Fat Joke in extravagant Italian exile.  It's easy to forget how admired he was, early in his reign, and how bright the prospects for both the dynasty and its country seemed under that well-raised young man.  Time in its flight indeed, alas...


  1. Is this the same one who became fat, scary and hairy in a Speedo in hotel pools along the Cote d'Azur after being deposed?

    1. Sadly, that would be he. Time was not only cruel - it moved fast. He went from the best-behaved boy to more or less a nightmare on pretty much every front. Still supposedly very charming when he wanted to be, despite looking essentially like a depraved beach ball.