Farouk, the Muhammad Ali dynasty knew how to fight and spend, but rule Egypt?

Today we will look at a face on a stamp that will be familiar to Egypt stamp collector, but how many know who he was and what he did. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. Welcome to todays offering from The Philatelist.

The stamp is obviously from the Arab world. These stamps are very close to each other, A English backed King, who descends from an Albanian Ottoman sultan named Muhammad Ali. With more French blood than Egyptian. The stamps seem interchangeable and so do the men.

The stamp today is issue A77, a 10 milliemes issued by the Kingdom of Egypt and the Sudan in 1944. The stamp displays a portrait of King Farouk. It is part of an 11 stamp issue in various denominations. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents used.

King Farouk ascended to the throne in 1936 at the age of 16 upon the death of his father King Faud I. He is a product of Faud’s second marriage. His rule did not see him getting along with his mother, now Queen mother Nazli. She spitefully sold all of King Fauds clothes in the Cairo used clothes street market after his death. This made public their unhappy marriage. She then supported the marriage of Farouk’s sister to a Coptic Christian Riyad Ghalli, which Farouk opposed. This lead to Farouk stripping them of their titles and sending them into exile in the United States. Nazli then herself converted to Catholicism and took the name Mary. She was of partial French decent. Farouk later proved correct about the marriage as the brother in law Ghalli squandered that branch of the families fortune on bad investments. This lead to divorce. Three years after the divorce he murdered his ex-wife and then unsuccessfully tried to kill himself. Queen mother Nazli, now Mary, was forced to auction off crown jewels.

King Farouk did not have much luck in other aspects of his rule. He and his people generally supported the Axis in World War II but was powerless to have any say on British troops in Egypt. At one point in 1942 British tanks surrounded the palace and forced Farouk to choose between abdication and a new British chosen Prime Minister. He gave in and appointed the Prime Minister but in doing so discredited himself.

What further discredited his rule was the lavish lifestyle with shopping trips to Europe and a bright red Bentley. An especially garish form of French Louis XV style furniture became known as Louis-Farouk and is still common in Egypt today. He also ballooned to over 300 pounds.

The Egyptian Army was also tiring of the King. It had fared poorly in fighting in Palestine. Many junior officers blamed this on incompetence and corruption. A group of about 100 junior officers staged a coup. in 1953. Farouk attempted to abdicate and named his infant son King Faud II. This was not enough and the family sailed for Italy on the royal yacht. He left in great haste and left behind an elaborate, valuable, and partially unpaid for coin collection. Embarrassingly he also left behind an extensive collection of pornography. He died in 1965. In the late seventies, then President Sadat restored citizenship to the royal family and allowed Farouk’s remains to be moved to the Royal mausoleum.

Well my drink is empty so I will open up the conversation in the below comment section. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.


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