THE LAST PHARAOH
At sixteen King Farouk was the hope of an Egypt gaining independent from the British.
For fellahin of the Nile this handsome, godlike young man spelled an era of freedom, abundant harvests and the good life. But little more than ten years transformed Farouk into an obese faun with a mania for women, gambling and other people’s possessions.
His rule was a disaster; during the war he leaned towards Nazi Germany and quarrelled with the British, who nearly deposed him; he led his country into a war with Israel which resulted in rout and humiliation; while Europe lay under the Communist nuclear menace Farouk and his entourage were living it up in casinos and luxury hotels across the continent.
But finally in 1952 his scandalous life, his ruinous policies and his autocratic and inept rule brought about a revolution that forced his abdication and exile. Thirteen years later he died in Rome aged 45.