The Rake

THE KING OF BLING

Source: A young King Farouk, circa 1939.

King Farouk as a teenager

dining at his wedding with his first wife, Safinaz Zulficar

with his second wife, Narriman Sadek, at their wedding, Cairo, 1951

in exile with his family on the island of Capri, 1953

in Monte Carlo with Italian opera singer Irma Capece Minutolo, 1954.

“I suppose that the greatest moment in the life of any revolutionary is when he walks through the royal palaces of the freshly deposed monarch and begins to finger his former master’s possessions,” wrote the freshly deposed King Farouk of Egypt in the early 1950s, adding that he would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when the pillaging took place: “I admit that I would have enjoyed seeing those prudish, clerkly sect leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood as they drifted through my rooms like elderly ladies on a cook’s tour, pulling open drawers, prying into cupboards and wardrobes, and gaping like country bumpkins at the number of the king’s clean shirts.”

“When the burdens of duty seemed overwhelming, poring over my collections kept me from nervous exhaustion.”

Farouk was somewhat loose with the historical facts: he was overthrown by the Free Officers’ Movement of the Egyptian army, led by Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser, which staged a military coup that ignited the Egyptian revolution of 1952, rather than the Muslim Brotherhood. But he was spot-on about the

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