Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 May 2020

Iraqi Princess Badiya bint Ali dies aged 100

The aunt of King Faisal II of Iraq survived the country’s 1958 coup

King Faisal I of Iraq, centre, the great grandfather of Princess Badiya bint Ali, is pictured at the 1919 Peace Conference in Paris. Behind him to the right is Lawrence of Arabia. Getty
King Faisal I of Iraq, centre, the great grandfather of Princess Badiya bint Ali, is pictured at the 1919 Peace Conference in Paris. Behind him to the right is Lawrence of Arabia. Getty

Princess Badiya bint Ali, a survivor of the bloody 1958 coup that ended her family’s rule in Iraq, has died at the age of 100.

Princess Badiya died in London where she had lived in exile. She was the last of Iraq’s princesses.

Iraq's new prime minister, Mustafa Al Kadhimi, tweeted on Sunday to mark her passing.

"With the passing of Princess Badiya bint Ali, a bright and important chapter of Iraq’s modern history ends," he wrote. "She was part of a political and societal era that represented Iraq in the best of ways. May she rest in peace and my sincere condolences to her family and loved ones."

Born in Damascus in 1920, Princess Badiya was the sister of Iraqi Prince Abd Al-Ilah, who served as regent from 1939-1953, for King Faisal II.

Prince Abd Al-Ilah, was also crown prince and heir to the throne before the 1958 coup.

King Faisal II was killed in the wave of pan-Arab revolutions that swept the Middle East and were promoted by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser.

The coup in Iraq unseated the British-backed Hashemite monarchy that had been established in 1921 by King Faisal I.

King Faisal II, Prince Abd Al-llah and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Said were all killed in the putsch. The coup also ended the Hashemite Arab Federation between Iraq and Jordan that had been created just half a year earlier.

Princess Badiya survived the coup because she was absent from the Al Rehab Palace when her brother was killed.

She sought refuge in the Saudi embassy in Baghdad and fled from Iraq to Cairo. After spending some time in Egypt she subsequently moved to Switzerland and later the United Kingdom.

Princess Badiya bint Ali. Wikimedia Commons
Princess Badiya bint Ali. Wikimedia Commons

Princess Badiya was the mother of Al Sharif Ali bin Al Hussein who actively supported the opposition against former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The princess’s son also sought to re-establish the monarchy in Iraq but his efforts never generated widespread support.

Updated: May 10, 2020 05:05 PM

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