When Amhed Fouad II was a two-year-old, he was crowned King of Egypt. But today at 58, the man who would be king lives in isolation in the Swiss countryside. Only a few of his Egyptian friends still call him His Majesty, others call him simply Fouad.
A story in the Weekend WSJ showed Fouad’s father, King Farouk, saluting the crowds at his festive 1937 coronation. But the story tells how the swaddled babe was taken aboard the royal yacht with his parents in 1952 as they fled Egypt that having a revolution. “The baby king ‘reigned’ from abroad for nearly a year as his father hoped that people would rally around his young son. But it quickly became clear that the officers in the revolution had no use for kings or princes.” Egypt was henceforth ruled by Col. Gamel Abdel Nasser, who had helped overthow King Farouk.
What’s it like to be a king without subjects , living in Europe when your heart is still in Egypt? Well, today in Egypt, one of the top TV shows is about King Farouk, Farouk books are selling well, and people’s disenchantment with the tough policies of Hosni Mubarak is starting to show after 30 hard years. Farouk fever has hit Cairo.
The baby king still visits Egypt, but says that sometimes when he goes it gets very emotional. He doesn’t want people to think that he has political ambitions–yet he too is swept up in the tide of longing for the era of a King. He said what he’d like to do is to live in Egypt as a cultural ambassador, like the King of Spain.
Too bad he came into the world too late, since it might have been different if he got an earlier start as a king.