Her Majesty Queen Fadila of Egypt is a lady with a kind soul and aristocratic manners, closely associated with the ruling family of Monaco and the Principality itself, where she has lived for many years. Born to a Franco-Swiss family, she grew up in Paris where she received degrees in literature and philosophy from prestigious universities. After some time, she became an integral part of the royal family of Egypt, a country that has always been considered the cradle of civilization. She devoted herself entirely to Egyptian culture out of love for her husband, His Majesty, King Fuad II of Egypt and three children: H.R.H. Mohamed Ali, Prince of Said, Princess Fawzia Latifa of Egypt and Prince Fakhr Eddin of Egypt. A memorable meeting with Their Highnesses Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Princess Grace of Monaco in the late 1970s deeply inspired Her life. The editors of HelloMonaco were honoured to meet for an exclusive interview with H.M. Queen Fadila of Egypt.
HelloMonaco: Your Majesty, Your attachment to the Principality of Monaco is linked to an emblematic figure, H.S.H. Princess Grace of Monaco, what memory do you have of Her personality?
H.M. Queen Fadila of Egypt: H.S.H. Princess Grace of Monaco had a unique, multifaceted personality. Having had the extraordinary privilege of being very close to her and the opportunity to spend time with her, I treasure numerous precious memories of our conversations, her radiant smile, her laugh, our outings and her exceptional way of understanding and explaining life events. I would listen attentively to her sound advice, which she loved to give me and which I followed — most of the time! Her decision that our religious wedding ceremony should be celebrated at the Prince’s Palace in Monaco on 5 October 1977, in the presence of the Princess herself and that of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III, allowed me to establish a happy family life with H.M. King Fouad II of Egypt and the Sudan, blessed by the birth of our three children. In addition, I opted to bring our second child, our only daughter, into the world in Monaco on 12 February 1982. I gave birth to Fawzia Latifa in Monaco thanks to the Royal Couple for having hosted our wedding at the Prince’s Palace in Monaco and to be close to our Princess Grace. The circle of life is a wonderful thing, as our daughter has now, in turn, become a happy mother of two, both of whom entered the world in Monaco: our grandson, Naël, born on 30 May 2019, and our granddaughter Dounia, born on 3 February 2021.
Almost every day, I think about our unforgettable and much loved Princess Grace. To express my eternal gratitude and unstinting appreciation for H.S.H. Princess Grace, I gave her son, His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, a magnificent portrait of Princess Grace, painted by Olivier Ameye, the world-famous Belgian artist. What a thrill it was to be able to present this gift to Prince Albert II during a private audience at the Palace of Monaco, to which I was accompanied by our son, H.R.H. Prince Fakhr Eddin Farouk of Egypt. What a delight to discover the painting, in which Grace Kelly is depicted at the start of her Hollywood career, and already with an air of royal elegance.
HelloMonaco: Do you remember one of your first meetings with Princess Grace of Monaco?
H.M. Queen Fadila of Egypt: During my childhood and youth, we spent several months a year in Gstaad, Switzerland. Our Schönried chalet was next to the one that belonged to Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco. And so, in summer and winter alike, we would encounter the Royal family when they were on holiday.
We were dazzled by the beauty and elegance of the Princess, happy to be with her family. Princess Grace also enjoyed spending time with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who we met in the charming village of Gstaad, or at Charly’s Tea Room. It made a huge impression and was quite magical.
HelloMonaco: How did the history of the royal family of Egypt begin in Monaco?
H.M. Queen Fadila of Egypt: In 1950, H.M. King Farouk I of Egypt and the Sudan paid a state visit to Monaco and established ties with H.S.H. Prince Rainier III, the Sovereign Prince of Monaco.
Currently, the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, is presenting a wonderful exhibition at Villa Sauber, entitled “Monaco — Alexandria, The Great Detour. World Capitals and Cosmopolitan Surrealism”. One display is dedicated to King Farouk’s state visit to Monaco. You can see the arrival of the royal yacht, the Fakhr El Bihar, press clippings about King Farouk’s programme, the King’s telegram thanking Prince Rainier III, visits to the Oceanographic Museum and the work of His Serene Highness Albert I, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, as well as to the Exotic Garden.
Another display showcases photographs of the Egyptian Sovereign visiting the Egyptian Pavilion at the Universal Expo in Paris in 1937.
On 23 July 1952, H.M. King Farouk and his family went into exile in Italy following a coup. He abdicated in favour of his son, who became King Fouad II. A regency council was appointed. It was not until June 1953 that the republic was proclaimed. H.S.H. Prince Rainier III generously granted King Farouk Monegasque nationality in 1956. The Egyptian Royal Family will remain forever grateful to him.
HelloMonaco: What is your relationship with Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlène? What do you think makes the Principality so attractive?
H.M. Queen Fadila of Egypt: The Principality of Monaco’s attractiveness clearly owes much to its Royal Family: Their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II and Princess Charlène of Monaco, Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella of Monaco, H.R.H. Princess Caroline of Hanover, H.S.H. Princess Stéphanie of Monaco and their children and grandchildren, who, through their commitment, contribute to the fame and global attention that Monaco attracts.
During the reign of its Sovereign, Monaco has become a state which may be small geographically, but which is an important member of the community of nations. On the foundations laid by the late lamented Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco, His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, has, as an admirable statesman, been able to turn the Principality into a world capital for culture, art, health, education, business, new technology and sport.
The spectacular facilities and stunning hotels mean that meetings and summits can be held, even in this difficult time of the pandemic, during which the wise management of the Sovereign Prince has been extraordinary. Prince Albert II’s diplomacy has worked wonders during this challenging era. Moreover, global diplomatic links are flourishing, and this is an area in which the Sovereign has done a lot of work, notably with H.E. Mr Laurent Anselmi, when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, with Mr Olivier Wenden, Vice-President and CEO, at its head, is doing some very important work, which bolsters — if there is even a need to do so — the international legitimacy and visibility of the Sovereign and of the Principality.
As for me, I have been living in the Principality for many years. I am happy here, living a quiet life surrounded by my family. Monaco’s social model is great for young people, women and the elderly. I am also an active member of several associations led by some incredible women and chaired by H.S.H. Princess Charlène of Monaco, H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover and H.S.H. Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, whose daughter, Ms Camille Gottlieb, has also become very active, playing a significant role in the youth section of the Monaco Red Cross.
What is lovely about Monaco is that the passing on of history is fundamental: this year, which marks the centenary of the death of His Serene Highness Albert I, Sovereign Prince of Monaco (Prince Albert II’s great-great-grandfather), we are commemorating the work and life of this remarkable statesman, explorer and oceanographer. I have also really enjoyed attending some wonderful talks in the Salle Garnier at the Casino de Monaco on “Empress Eugenie, friend and neighbour of the Principality of Monaco”, in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II and Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Jean-Christophe Napoléon and Princess Olympia.
It was almost like something from a film, quite extraordinary. Monaco remains one of the world capitals of film. I am already excited about attending the 2nd Monaco Streaming Film Festival, which will be taking place from 31 May to 3 June 2022.
HelloMonaco: What does Egypt still represent for You?
H.M. Queen Fadila of Egypt: After giving birth to our son, Mohamed Ali, on 5 February 1979 in Cairo, Egypt, where I was welcomed by H.M. Queen Narriman, I forged strong, lasting ties with Egypt and the Egyptian people. I have enormous admiration for Egyptian women. I visit Egypt regularly, very discreetly, but with a wonderful welcome from our relatives, friends and allies.
The cultural ties between Monaco and Egypt were highlighted in July 2018 when the fantastic “Gold of the Pharaohs” exhibition was held. My children, Their Royal Highnesses Princess Fawzia Latifa and Prince Fakhr Eddin Farouk of Egypt, accompanied me to the opening evening, alongside His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, at the Grimaldi Forum of Monaco.
Egypt and I have been close for forty-three years. I have Egyptian friends who are very much aware of my concerns, my sorrows and my joys.
It was in this context that H.E. the Egyptian Ambassador and his lovely wife gave a grand dinner in my honour at the Egyptian Embassy in Brussels on 23 November 2018, to celebrate my birthday.
HelloMonaco: What are the most important values You have passed on to Your children?
H.M. Queen Fadila of Egypt: I am committed, with my heart and soul, to my family, to Fouad and our three children, Mohamed Ali, Fawzia Latifa and Fakhr Eddin. In bringing them up, I sought to pass on the values and principles instilled in me by my venerable and late lamented parents. Today, the two eldest are married and parents to our beloved grandchildren, the twins Fouad and Farah Noor, Naël and Dounia. Our son, Fakhr Eddin, has earned good qualifications in law and has decided to live in the Principality. He has embarked on a promising career.
The past is gone, we do not know what the future holds, so I live in the present. I hope that 2022 will be a good year for everyone, with perhaps the hope of returning to a somewhat more normal life. I would like to thank Mrs Olga Taran, the founder and editor-in-chief, for allowing me space in her prestigious magazine.