Padshah Begum (Empress) was a superlative imperial title conferred in the Mughal Harem to the first lady of the Court of Empire. This individual as taking precedence over all other women, as the emperor did over all other men.
The title could be bestowed upon the chief or principal wife, a sister, the mother or even a favored daughter of the Mughal Emperor. The title could not be held by more than one lady simultaneously. The title was first bestowed upon Maham Begum, wife of Emperor Babur and mother of the next Emperor Humayun.Emperor Humayun bestowed it to Hamida Banu Begum the mother of next emperor Akbar.Emperor Akbar bestowed it to Mariam-uz-Zamani,the mother of next emperor Jahangir. Emperor Jahangir bestowed the title upon Saliha Banu Begum, this title was passed on to Nur Jahan after her (Saliha Banu) death in 1620. Emperor Shah Jahan bestowed the title upon his wife Mumtaz Mahal Begum. Emperor Muhammad Shah bestowed upon the title upon his wife Badshah Begum.
The title was also bestowed upon the daughter of the emperor, such as Emperor Shah Jahan's daughter, Princess Jahanara Begum and Emperor Aurangzeb's daughter, Princess Zinat-un-Nissa, both of whom bore the title throughout their lives.
In some cases the title was also bestowed upon the sister of the emperor. Such as in the case of Emperor Babur's older sister, Khanzada Begum. When the princesses held the title it literally meant "Empress amongst princesses".
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