Monday, September 12, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II and Egypt : In photos

Queen Elizabeth II is dead, Long Live King Charles III

And the day has come and the modern world’s longest-serving monarch Queen Elizabeth II has passed away.

96-years-old Queen Elizabeth, the Queen of the United Kingdom passed away earlier Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle in Scotland ending a true era.

Queen Elizabeth II and King Tutankhamun
Queen Elizabeth in front of King Tutankhamun's mask at his special exhibit 
in London in 1972 at the British Museum  "Getty"

It is unclear what the old monarch suffered from.

Her eldest son-73-years-old Charles has become King Charles III and his wife in some irony of fate became Queen consort, Camilla. She had the last laugh as it seems against all odds somehow after decades of being scorned globally.

It is almost the end of the era for real but not the end of that era because Henry Kissinger is still alive and kicking and honestly, he has been more dangerous than Queen Elizabeth II with all that she represented from British colonialism and Monarchy to the end of that talk.

The Second Elizabethan era ended as the UK itself is facing a lot of challenges whether economically or politically in a very critical time in the world.

According to an irony of fate, that era started in a challenging way for young Elizabeth too as the Sun began to set on the British Colonial Empire.

Now after this quick intro, here is a quick look at Queen Elizabeth II and Egypt aside from the long, complicated and ugly then friendly relations between the British governments and Egyptian administrations.

Contrary to my knowledge and the knowledge of millions of Egypt, Queen Elizabeth actually visited Egypt somehow.

Although she did not set a foot in the Egyptian territories to take a couple of photos in front of the Great Pyramids, Princess Elizabeth II visited Egypt through the Suez Canal on at least one of her voyages in 1949 where she met Lord Mountbatten

Princess Elizabth then at Suez Canal
Princess Elizabth then at Suez Canal
"Eslam Salheen" 

It is worth mentioning that Egypt hosted during then many members of the Greek Royal Family from where Prince Philip descended. 

Elizabeth II became a Queen on 6 February 1952 just two weeks after the famous Ismailia battle between British occupation forces and the Police force in the Suez city of Ismailia on 25 January 1952.

On 26 January 1952, we had the enigmatic great fire of Cairo we officially do not know who was behind it for real, but fingers are always referring to the British intelligence to this day.

To explain what was happening during then here is a quick recap:

In October 1951, legendary PM Mostafa El-Nahas “yup, legendary comparing to the Primers we had later” of Al-Wafd cabinet declared that he cancelled the Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936 with the UK as the British officials rejected and ignored his long demands after World War II: The full independence of Egypt and Sudan. In other words, Egypt was demanding the British leave both Suez Canal and Sudan without going to further details.

After the announcement of El-Nahas, militant resistance against British forces in Suez Canal was launched. On other hand, things were not easy politically in Egypt with the struggle between the Egyptian Royal Palace with King Farouk and the Egyptian political parties including those in alliance with the British Embassy.

In nutshell, Egyptians were not following the news of the new British Queen because back in Cairo something was in the air and on 23 July 1952 the climax was reached with a military coup that was a turning point in the Middle East and Africa. 1952 witnessed a new era in Cairo and London by all measures.

Enter the Suez Canal crisis with a sick stateman like Anthony Eden and anti-imperialism young Gamal Abdel Nasser.

According to her husband late Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II was against the war which proved to be a huge political failure for the UK at the start of her era. It brought an end to Eden’s career and brought up the United States and the Soviet Union as world new powers and the UK and France as old powers.

It was the start of the end of the imperialistic United Kingdom.

It is well known that during Nasser’s rule, he insulted Queen Elizabeth in an infamous inflammatory speech. It was not in 1956 but in the 1960s during the war of Yemen or the war of Aden for independence and Nasser was angry that the British media attacked him. After it was not a big secret that his administration supported for real the independence movement in Africa. It was from the good pros in his time.

Nasser fired back at them and called them “sons of 60 dogs” whose King was “a woman” as the Egyptian public attending the speech went wild. It was filmed by Egyptian TV.

With all due respect, this speech represents Nasser’s typical addiction to going wild on the mic with no regard for anything. Now I look at the speech in 2022 and I see that it did not focus on the main issue, which is Yemen and its unification and independence, but it is “the Media is attacking me, but we beat up the British’s ass in 1956 and they are calling us names and we can call them the name because we kicked their asses”

Many are sharing the video whether Egyptians or Non-Egyptians to get back at the greatest symbol of British imperialism in the 20th century celebrating and gloating Queen Elizabeth’s death.

Some think that Nasser’s insult to Elizabeth was the reason why she visited many Arab capitals and did not visit Cairo, but I do not think so because the British Queen outlived Nasser to see the UK turning into a friendly country to Egypt and its biggest foreign investor. “I think UAE took over the UK as the biggest foreign investor after its shopping spree of shares in Egyptian companies in the past couple of months”

Already time came when Gamal Abdel Nasser’s grandchildren had British passports in some “Curb your enthusiasm” end-sque moment.

In the 1970s, things began to change between Egypt and UK with President Mohamed Anwar Sadat and how he was open to the West leaving behind the anti-Imperialism Pro-socialism policies of Nasser. He abandoned Africa unfortunately in his time.

In 1972, Queen Elizabeth II met Egypt’s King Tutankhamun when Egypt sent his treasures for an exhibit at the British Museum in London. 

Queen Elizabeth II and King Tut
Queen Elizabeth II and King Tut at the British Museum in 1974
"Alamy"

Ironically two became symbols of their both countries in their own way in the 20th century.

Historically Queen Elizabeth II met with President Anwar Sadat twice in London.

The first time was in 1975.

The Sadats , Elizabeth II and Charles III
The Sadats at Buckingham Palace with late Queen Elizabeth II and 
her son Crown Prince then Charles in 1975 in London "Getty" 

The second, as well as the last time, was in June 1981 in London. I could not find photos of the Sadats with the Windsors but I found their photos with Margaret Thatcher. 

Jihan El-Sadat with Margaret Thatcher.
Late Former Egypt's First lady Jihan El-Sadat
with Margaret Thatcher. 

  During his 14-day honeymoon with his ex-wife late princess Diana in August 1981 on the board of Royal Yacht “Britannia”, Prince of Wales then Charles visited Egypt and crossed the Suez Canal where the Sadats warmly received them.

The Sadats , Princess Diana and Prince Charles
Jihan El-Sadat, Princess (then) Diana, Prince (then) Charles
and President El-Sadat on the board of Britannia 

P.S: It was a frustrating honeymoon for Diana during that trip, I think the Egyptians began to be charmed with this young shy English rose.

A Couple of months and President Sadat was assassinated.

Queen Elizabeth II met with the late ousted Hosni Mubarak in March 1985 in London. 

Queen Elizabeth II and the Mubaraks
Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the Mubaraks at Buckingham Palace 
in March 1985

She also met him in July 1991 in London.

The Mubaraks and the Windsors
The Mubaraks and the Windsors at an official state dinner at Buckingham Palace
in London in 1991. 

Ironically according to the declassified British documents from the British Embassy’s cables revealed by the BBC as well as the memories of Egyptian Foreign Ministry officials, Mubarak declined an invitation from Prince of Wales Then Charles to visit London and meet him and his wife Princess Diana in February 1983.

Mubarak reportedly refused because he was a head of state plus another reason which seems interesting to me.

According to what is said, Mubarak did not want to give the impression that he would continue Sadat’s openness to the British Royal Family, and he did not want his wife Suzanne “who is actually half Welsh” to appear like Jihan Sadat.

This was in the early years of Mubarak’s rule, or I would say his first decade in his presidency where his wife and sons did not appear that much in the public or media before the 1990s when things changed dramatically.

Late Princess Diana visited Egypt which made her win hearts and minds in 1992. It was the visit to remember in the memory of many Egyptians.

Princess Diana in Egypt
Princess Diana at Pyramids Plateau meeting a local "AP"  

Prince Charles visited Cairo in March 1995, but nobody remembers this visit.

Many people could not stand the British Royal Family after what happened to Lady Diana and her fiancé late British of Egyptian/Saudi businessman Emad El-Fayed aka Dodi El-Fayed. Already Egyptians loved Diana and took her side in the infamous feud with the Royal Family or rather Charles and Camilla.

Then Lady D was said to marry the son of Mohamed El-Fayed and it was a summer of love and pride that Egypt’s son “whom most of us did not even know him” was going to marry Lady D, the mother of Great Britain’s Future King.

Then the fairy tale ended in a tragedy. Former Egyptian First Lady Suzanne Mubarak was invited to Lady D’s funeral, which was watched by millions of Egyptians who mourned her and believed till this moment that she was killed by the British Monarchy establishing/MI5 for getting engaged to a Muslim Man even if he were a playboy.

For two decades, the British Royal Family was not that popular especially when Charles married his long love Camilla Bowles, and they came to Cairo in March 2006 as part of a 12-days-tour in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and India promoting tolerance and coexistence.

Charles and Camilla with the Mubaraks
Charles and Camilla with the Mubaraks in Cairo "Getty"

During that visit, Charles became the first British Royal Family member and probably the first Christian Royal family member to get an honorary PhD from Al-Azhar University.

Technically speaking now Charles III is the first Western British King to have a PhD from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University and the first head of the Church of England to have a PhD from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University which follows Al-Azhar, the biggest, oldest and most important Sunni Muslim institution in the world.

Even if it is an honorary degree, it is important.

Young Egyptians followed the Royal marriage of Prince William, Lady D’s eldest son in admiration and older Egyptians kept saying his mom should be alive to celebrate it.

In November 2021, the former British Crown Prince and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall visited Egypt for the first time since 2006 where they toured Luxor, Cairo and Alexandria and met a number of Egyptian officials above them President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and his wife.

The Sisis with Charles and Camilla
The Sisis with Charles and Camilla in Cairo in November 

Now I wonder if King Charles III will attend the UN Conference on Climate 27 “COP27” which is to be held in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh or if he will send Prince of Wales William!? We will know.

In Current Egypt, I can say the late Queen won huge sympathy and admiration thanks to Netflix’s “The Crown”

Despite the superficial Western view presented about the 1956 Suez war and cartoonish representation of Nasser, the Crown is of the most followed and watched TV shows in Egypt.

Queen Elizabeth was represented as a human facing the unbearable responsibility of rule and monarchy in difficult times. Other members of the Royal family were represented, and we understood more about Prince Philip and Prince or rather King Charles III who had not-so-happy childhood thanks to his father who had his share of suffering too.

Back in old Egypt, after being ousted by the coup of the Free officers, Egypt and Sudan’s last ruling King Farouk said in an interview that the earth won’t have monarchs eventually except for five monarchs: the four monarchs of playing cards and the monarchs of Great Britain.

I believe after Queen Elizabeth II we know eventually if Farouk was wise enough to predict the future beyond his time and his dynasty or if it was just an attempt of a sad broken failed man to appear smart in some foreign interview in exile.

Only time will tell.

Extra content: Here is the photo of late Prince Philip with the former Queen of Egypt the beloved Farida in London in 1964 during the marriage of some Greek Royal family member. 

Queen Farida and Prince Philip
Queen Farida and Prince Philip in 1964 in London


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