When King Farouk got married to Safinaz ZulFicar in 1938 it was one of the Middle East’s most glittering nights, or more like a week!
Prince Farouk first met Safinaz (her name means the beautiful woman in Turkish) at a palace party. Safinaz’s was one of Queen Nazli’s friends and ladies-in-waiting.
Safinaz at the age of 7, painted by her uncle
Later that year year Safinaz and her mother joined the royal family on their vacation in Europe (then-Prince Farouk asked his mother to invite Safinaz), and it was in The Alps where these two fell in love.
Shortly after their return to Egypt, Farouk ascended to the throne. Not too long after that, a royal engagement was announced, Safinaz was 16 years old!
The official engagement photo
Safinaz, who had her name changed to Farida to start with an F, The king’s favourite letter, got her trousseau from Paris and Egypt.
King Farouk chose The House of Worth to design the world’s youngest queen’s wedding gown, Worth was the traditional couturier for European royals, but it was also in the final years of its prominence.
In Royal Egypt, weddings were done differently, the bride does not attend the actual ceremony. Instead, she watches from a different room as her representative (whom she chooses) and her bridegroom undertake the official procedures.
The House of Worth under the direction of Jacques and Roger Worth created a silver lace over satin gown with long lace sleeves. its cost was reported to be around 3,000-4,000 dollars.
The original sketch
Queen Farida’s wedding dress also featured a slightly gathered bodice and an eight-yard (around 7 and a half meters) train swung from the shoulders and made of silver lamé.
The veil was made of tulle, edged with the silver lace of the gown, the blusher part didn’t have the lace edging. the veil was about half a yard longer than the train.
The Alexandrian bride who left with her family their residence in Gianaclis, Alexandria stayed in Villa Shammas in Heliopolis, Cairo until the wedding. This is where these beautiful photos were taken of the bridal party by photographer Alban. The photos were a sensation but also caused some controversy as Farida was the first Egyptian queen to pose on her wedding day!
The new Queen of Egypt arrived in Qubba Palace wearing her gown, Sash of The Order of El-Kamal, a tiara, a pair of earrings, a necklace by Boucheron, a feather fan, and satin heels. (more about the jewelry and trousseau in a coming post) where she was met by the king at the staircase.
The newly-weds greeted the people outside.
They entered to welcome the guests and receive their wishes here we see Queen Nazli, the queen mother in a Chanel gown standing beside the king.
I think the gown was perfect for Farida who was just 16. It wouldn’t have been right if someone as delicate looking as she had worn something heavily embroidered or too flashy, yet the gown is still very glamorous. The silver lace and the lamé train keep it away from being too simple or too understated. A very modern look by the 1930s standards, and yet very demure for an Egyptian Queen.
What do you think of this Worth Paris creation for Queen Farida in 1938? do you think a similar gown can be worn nowadays by a royal bride?
Photos: Max Karkegi, Ahmed Kamel, and other Flickr accounts