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Matthew H. Ellis

king of Egypt and the Sudan (r. April 1936–July 1952), was born in Cairo on 11 February 1920, the only son of King Fuʾad I and his second wife, Nazli Sabri, notably an Egyptian commoner. After a reputedly solitary and unhappy childhood inside the palace, Faruq briefly attended the Woolwich Royal Military Academy in England, at his father’s insistence. His education there was cut short when Fuʾad died abruptly in 1936 and Faruq rushed back to Egypt to accede to the throne (though he would rule for more than a year under the stewardship of a regency council). Faruq was the tenth and final member of the Ottoman-Albanian Mehmed Ali dynasty to rule in Egypt.

For the first several years of his reign Faruq a charismatic and good looking young king who unlike his father could address his subjects directly in Arabic garnered widespread support and affection among Egyptians ...



Ronald Bruce St John

king of Libya, Libyan religious and political leader, descendant of a distinguished North African family that traced its ancestry to the Prophet Muhammad, was the first head of state after Libya won independence in 1951. Born at Jaghbub in eastern Libya, Sayyid Muhammad Idris al-Mahdi al-Sanusi was the eldest son of Sayyid Muhammad al-Mahdi al-Sanusi, in turn the eldest son and successor to Sayyid Muhammad bin ʿAli al-Sanusi, the founder of the Sanusi Order, a strictly orthodox order of Sufis established in Libya in 1842. Idris was schooled in traditional Islamic studies at the Kufrah Oasis, a Sanusi center in southeastern Libya, where he earned a reputation for piety and scholarship. After Italy invaded Libya in 1911, an occupation the Sanusi Order resisted with force, Idris assumed leadership of the order in 1916 Idris tried to reach a peaceful accommodation with the Italians but when his ...


Jeremy Rich

king of Morocco, was born on 10 August 1909 in the Moroccan city of Fez. He was the youngest son of his father Yusuf, the sultan of Morocco in the Alaouite dynasty, who was placed on the throne by French colonial officials after Germany accepted a French protectorate over the kingdom in 1911. His mother was Lalla Yaqut.

Mohammed’s childhood was very sheltered and overseen by the French colonial administration. Yusuf’s low profile prior to the French takeover and his close collaboration with the colonial government made him extremely unpopular among most members of the Moroccan elite. Mohammed’s education was thus placed in the hands of an Algerian loyal to France, Si Mohammed Mammeri. On 11 November 1927 Yusuf died without naming an heir Different factions of the royal family the sultan s ministers and the colonial administration struggled with one another over Yusuf s succession Yusuf s ...


Betty Sibongile Dlamini

King of Swaziland, was born to the reigning Swazi monarch, Bhunu (Ngwane V) and Lomawa Ndwandwe on 22 July 1899. His birth names were Nkhotfotjeni (a small beautifully marked lizard) and Mona (jealousy). A few months after Sobhuza II was born, he was selected as crown prince. He had the privilege of getting a formal education at the Zombodze School that Labotsibeni, Bhunu’s mother and the Queen Regent, had established. Labotsibeni got the best tutors from Natal to tutor the crown prince. In 1916, after Sobhuza II had completed his elementary education, his grandmother adamantly stood against the royal counselors of the time and sent him to South Africa for higher education at Lovedale Missionary Institution.

In 1919 there was pressure for the king to take his position as ruler and he was recalled from Lovedale He subsequently got his public ritualization and private preparation for his ...