H.I.H. Prince Ali Vâsıb (known in Turkish as ‘Ali Vâsıb Efendi’ – or, using his Turkish surname, as ‘Ali Vâsıb Osmanoğlu’) was born in the Çırağan Palace, on the shores of the Bosphorus in İstanbul, in 1903. His memoirs deal with the life and times of the Ottoman Imperial family during the last years of the Ottoman Sultanate, as well as with his life during his enforced exile in Hungary, France and Egypt. While in İstanbul he witnessed the First World War, the abolition of the Sultanate in 1923 and then that of the Caliphate in 1924, at which time he was exiled along with the rest of the Imperial family. He was finally allowed to return to his homeland in 1974, after half a century in exile. Ali Vâsıb Efendi is the only Ottoman Imperial Prince to have written his memoirs, and they give a unique insight into the people and politics of his day.
• H.I.H. Prince Ali Vâsıb, the great-grandson of Sultan Murad V, was at various times in the presence of the last four Ottoman Sultans as well as the last Caliph.
• He personally knew the leading figures of the time – such as Enver Pasha.
• He was a witness to key events in Ottoman history during the last days of the Empire.
• He lived through the occupation of İstanbul by the Allies – the Ottoman court’s most difficult period – and then the exile of the Ottoman Dynasty in 1924.
• From 1925 to 1935 he lived on the Côte d’Azur, where many members of deposed European royal families had congregated.
• Later on, whilst living in Egypt, he experienced a second trauma with the overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy.