Neslisah Osmanoglu, a twice-exiled Ottoman princess, died Monday. She was 91.
She was the oldest member of the Ottoman dynasty. Her nephew, Abdulhamid Kayihan Osmanoglu confirmed her death. Sources say she died of a heart attack. Her funeral was held Tuesday, followed by burial in Istanbul, the former Ottoman capital, reported the Associated Press.
Neslisah Osmanoglu, also known as Princess Neslisah, was born in Istanbul on Feb. 4, 1921, during the last days before Mustafa Kemal Ataturk overthrew the Ottoman dynasty and established the modern Turkish republic. She was the granddaughter of the last sultan, Vahdettin.
The deposed imperial family was exiled from Turkey in 1924. Female members were allowed back into the country in the 1950s, while men were barred until 1974.
Neslisah grew up in Nice, France, before moving to Egypt.
When we were in exile we lived longing for the country, she told historian Murat Bardakci, in a biography on her life according to the Associated Press. My mother had friends who would go to Istanbul. I would ask them to bring me back a bit of soil from Istanbul, but none did.
She married Egyptian Prince Muhammed Abdel Monem in 1940. Prince Monem ruled Egypt for 10 months before the country became a republic under popular reformist Gamal Abdel Nasser.
The couple was forced to leave Egypt. They settled in France with her husband. They had two children, a son and a daughter. In the 1957, the princess and her daughter returned to Istanbul.
Her husband died in Istanbul in 1979.
Her son, Abbas Hilmi, still holds the title of Egyptian prince, according to AFP.
She was the last surviving member of the Ottoman dynasty to be born during the empire, after the recent deaths of her relatives Prince Burhaneddin Cem in 2008 and Prince Ertugrul Osman in 2009.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave their condolences to the family.
I was deeply saddened by the passing of Nesli?ah Osmano?lu, the eldest member of the Ottoman dynasty that made its mark on Turkish and world history, as well as on the period it represents, and which established the Ottoman state and transformed it into a world empire, Gül said in a public statement.
She was the poster-child for nobleness who carried the blood of Osman [who established the Ottoman Empire], he said in Parliament, according to the Associated Press. We remember her with high regard and our blessings.
Her funeral was held at the Y?ld?z Mosque in Istanbul Tuesday. She was later buried in a family vault at the A?iyan Cemetery, reported Hürriyet Daily News.
Neslisah Sultan is survived by a son, daughter and a grandson.