Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Last Emperor

I have been haunted for the past few years by a story that was in the Times Metro section (you know, back when there Was a Metro section) about Ertugrul Osman, who was the last remaining grandson of the final Ottoman Emperor. My knowledge of the Ottoman Empire comes from a Serb friend (who's a fantastic costume designer) Marija Djordevic; romance novels that feature harems; and Orham Pamuk's "Istanbul."
But Mr. Osman lived most of his life in our world; he and his wife lived in a walk-up on Lexington in the East 70s. He remembered playing in the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul as a child. Ataturk forced his family to leave Turkey in 1924. The photo is of His Imperial Highness Prince Osman and his second wife, Princess Zeynep (she's actually an Afghan princess as well). Mr. Osman died on a trip to Istanbul last Wednesday. He was 97 years old. What things he must have seen!
There's a link to the Times obituary above; the photo credit is Fred R. Conrad, for the Times.

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