BritFlorida loves to track down historical stories, especially scandals and mysteries from the UK.
A Royal Scandal in Paris
This story has the very best scandalous ingredients. Read about the Prince of Wales' mistress, the wealthy Egyptian playboy and mysterious events in Paris.
Like every good scandalous story about the British Royal Family, there's also a fascinating coverup.
There's even a sensational murder.
The playboy, the heir to a huge fortune, was captivated by a beautiful young lady. However, she was a lady with a past. Not only that but her life had led her to become rather cunning. She had found this out the hard way.
The wealthy Egyptian was determined to make her his wife, but he was doomed to tragedy. The relationship would prove fatal.
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The Prince of Wales
The story begins with the Prince of Wales. When he was a teenager he had visited France and was delighted when, in the First World War, he was posted to Paris.
Paris of course, is known as the 'city of love' and it was here that the prince, Edward, discovered delights that had formerly been unknown to him. Although in his early twenties, the Prince of Wales was what we would call a late developer in that department.
But they do say that all is fair in love and in war and for the first time, the prince was experiencing both.
I don't know what you think but I've always thought that Prince Edward was rather lax when choosing his mistresses, and this lady was no exception.
Maggie certainly was entrancing. She was a French girl who had been born Marguerite Allibert to a low-income family. Striking-looking from an early age, she had an illegitimate baby when she was fifteen years old.
Cast out by her family, she realised that she was potentially (and literally) sitting on a fortune she began a career in Paris.
And she was successful. She became a high-class Parisienne courtesan who could count some of members of the top echelons of society as her clients.
During the First World War, she added the Prince of Wales to her list of eager - and wealthy - paramours.
The prince was besotted but he was also inexperienced. Not only that, he seemed to have a talent for being indiscreet. Maggie, although still young, was a woman of the world.
When Edward was away from Paris, he was moved to write long letters to his mistress, declaring his affection and making no attempt to hide the exact nature of their relationships and the details of the happy hours they spent together.
Unlike some other royal mistresses, Maggie knew that her relationship with the prince was temporary only. She had no illusions. And of course, besotted though the prince was, the relationship ended.
But Maggie carefully kept every one of his letters.
The Egyptian playboy
Maggie had ensured that she lived in the best circumstances. Her lovers ensured that she lived in a luxurious Paris apartment and she was showered with jewelry and gifts.
But when she met Ali Fahmy, she saw a wonderful opportunity. Ali, a few years younger than Maggie, was the heir to a huge fortune. Even better, he called himself a prince. (He wasn't, technically speaking, but his father was influential, wealthy and titled).
She quickly converted to his faith and the pair were married. She had the sense to know that the Prince of Wales provided nothing but a dead end relationship, but now she had a prince of her own and had no problem titling herself Princess Fahmy.
But it was a marriage she would quickly regret.
In July 1923 the couple went to London and stayed at the luxurious Savoy Hotel. By this time, the couple's relationship was tempestuous and came to a head during a violent thunderstorm.
The couple had been seen arguing fiercely at dinner and this continued when they went upstairs to their hotel suite. This culminated in physical violence meted out by Ali. Maggie had had enough.
Her husband had given her a small pistol engraved with her initials as a small,decorative gift. Decorative though it was, it was also deadly. She shot Ali three times in the head.
She was discovered, literally with the smoking gun, arrested and charged with murder.
The case goes to court
It seemed that the verdict was obvious. Everyone expected Maggie to be found guilty and eventually hanged. However, there was cover up at work.
Remember, Maggie had damning letters written several years earlier from the Prince of Wales during the height of their passionate affair.
Her defence seems incredible to us in this day and age but her lawyer argued:
- That Ali didn't confine his relationships to women only. Although only twenty three when he died, the defence suggested that he had enjoyed many affairs with his fellow man. Of course, this was illegal in those days but it was also extremely frowned-upon by society.
- That due to this preference,even when with his wife, he prefered bedroom activities that were 'unnatural'. (I will leave that to your imagination but it seems that Maggie certainly had reason to see her husband as a real pain in the ass.)
- That as an Egyptian, he did not know how to properly treat women. (Yes, that really was part of the defence).
The cover up
By the law of the day, the defence lawyers attacking the character of the victim gave the prosecution the opportunity to explore the character and morals of the defendant.
The court was about to look into Maggie's background. However, the judge ruled that other than allowing the knowledge to be released that Maggie had been briefly married before, and that she had a child, any evidence concerning her background couldn't be revealed in court.
Many years after the trial, various facts (not speculation but facts) came to light. They were:
- From the day of her imprisonment, and frequently thereafter, Maggie was visiting in jail by a former client, Major Ernest Bald. The two spoke always in French. Bald was closely connected to the royal household. It is speculated that he was the go-between.
- That Maggie had previously lodged the damning letters from the Prince of Wales with the High Commissioner in Cairo, Egypt.
- Three weeks before the start of Maggie's trial, a senior British diplomat, stationed in Cairo, made an unexpected and unexplained visit to London. He too had close connections with the royal household. Was he transporting the letters?
- On the day following the diplomat's arrival in London, the Prince of Wales, who was holidaying in Scotland, unexpectedly travelled to London. He was there only for one day, then returned to his vacation.
- In the British Library, the author of the book above found a letter from Lord Curzon, the British Foreign Secretary at the time to his wife. I have recreated it and reproduced it below:
Thanks to the machinations you read about above, it took the jury just one hour to declare Maggie not guilty.
Jackie Jackson (author) from Fort Lauderdale on May 03, 2014:
@Merrci: Thanks! The British are keeping me busy :)
Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on March 25, 2014:
Another story of intrigue and passion! I wonder if you are even halfway through the list of them!? As always, enjoyed reading this very much.
Jackie Jackson (author) from Fort Lauderdale on March 25, 2014:
@Nancy Hardin: Thank you Nancy. I'm so glad that you're enjoying them - I'm certainly having fun writing them!
Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on March 25, 2014:
I love reading all these stories. How fascinating to find out about the Royals' best kept secrets. The thing is, they are human just as we are, but because of their prominence in the world spotlight, these stories are even more engrossing than a story about anyone else having mistresses. Excellent work, once again, britflorida!