Princess Farial of Egypt

Princess Ferial Farouk (also Farial, Feryal; Arabic: الأميرة فريال‎ Ferial means full of victory and glorious); 17 November 1938 – 29 November 2009)[1] was the eldest child of Egypt's penultimate monarch, King Farouk.

Ferial Farouk
Princess of Egypt
ModernEgypt, Farouk I with his Family, DHP13655-17-19 01.jpg
Ferial in the early 1940s, photographed by Riad Shehata
Born(1938-11-17)17 November 1938
Montaza Palace, Alexandria, Egypt
Died29 November 2009(2009-11-29) (aged 71)
Montreux, Switzerland
Khedival Mausoleum,
Al-Rifa'i Mosque
SpouseJean-Pierre Perreten
IssueYasmine Perreten-Shaarawy
HouseMuhammad Ali Dynasty
FatherFarouk of Egypt
MotherSafinaz Zulficar

Early lifeEdit

Ferial with King Farouk and Queen Farida, c. 1940.

Ferial was born on 17 November 1938. At the time of her birth, King Farouk was eighteen years of age and his wife, Farida of Egypt, was seventeen. Her birth was marked by nationwide celebrations which included the distribution of clothes and free breakfasts to thousands of poor. In addition, each of the 1,700 families of infants born on the same day were given one Egyptian pound, which was a large sum at that time. Princess Ferial was later joined by two more sisters, Princesses Fawzia and Fadia. In search of an heir, King Farouk divorced Queen Farida in 1949 and married Narriman Sadek. That marriage produced Fuad II, Ferial's half-brother and last King of Egypt.

Life in exileEdit

In 1952, the Revolution by the Free Officers sent the Royal Family into exile in Italy. Ferial left Egypt at the age of 13 on the royal yacht Mahroussa.[2] The family's time in exile was spent in Naples, Capri and Rome. Ferial's correspondence with her mother Farida shows that she was very sad to leave Egypt and especially the people she knew and loved there.[2]

Ferial was unable to return to Egypt while Nasser remained in power. Not until 1973, three years into Sadat's regime was she allowed access to the country and permitted an Egyptian passport. She would later spend her summers in Egypt with her daughter Yasmine visiting relatives.[3]


At the will of their father Farouk, Ferial and her sisters were educated privately, and then at Grand Verger Finishing School a boarding school in Lutry, Switzerland. Their mother stayed in Egypt for 10 years after their exile eventually moving to Lebanon and then reuniting with them in Switzerland.[2]

Family lifeEdit

Ferial’s father Farouk was a very strict parent during their exile requiring the sisters to get permission for even trivial things such as hair cuts and wearing nail polish. Her father only gave her permission to teach at a sectarian school in Lausanne if she kept her identity a secret.[2]

Ferial lived the majority of her life after her marriage outside of Montreux, where she taught typing and French literature. Later when she married, she and her husband operated a hotel in the area.[2]

In 1966, Ferial married the Swiss Jean-Pierre Perreten, at Westminster, London. Perreten was the son of a Swiss hotelier and converted to Islam to make the marriage possible. He took on the name Samir Cheriff as part of his conversion.[2] They had one daughter, Yasmine Perreten-Shaarawi, in 1967. Ferial and Perreten divorced quickly after their daughter's birth. Ferial did not remarry. Perreten died in 1968.[2] In 2004 Yasmine married 'Ali Sha'arawi who is the grandson of Huda Sha'arawi the iconic Egyptian author and feminist.[2]

After Ferial’s mother Queen Farida died in 1988, she and her two sisters were prompted to file a lawsuit against the Egyptian government over their ownership of a royal palace in the Nile Delta. The sisters believed that the land and property belonged to their mother and that with her death, they were the rightful owners of the property. However the Egyptian court ruled against them because their parents' divorce had voided their mother's claim to the land even before all royal property was taken over during the revolution.[2]

Ferial spent the rest of her life out of the public eye taking care of her siblings. Her sister Fawzia suffered from multiple sclerosis and died in 2005. Her brother Fouad went through a great depression after his divorce from his wife Dominique-France Picard. While Ferial wasn't supportive of this marriage she supported her brother through his emotional struggles.[2]


Princess Ferial died in a hospital on 29 November 2009, aged 71, in Montreux, Switzerland, where she had been receiving treatment for stomach cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2002.[1]

Ferial was buried alongside her family in the Khedival mausoleum of Cairo's Rifa'i Mosque. This is where all members of the Muhammad Ali dynasty are buried.[2]


Princess Ferial of Egypt is of Circassian (26/32), Turkish (3/32), French (2/32) and Albanian (1/32) descent.