Queen Farida, born Safinaz Zulficar (5 September 1921 – 16 October 1988) was the first wife of King Farouk. She was queen of Egypt for eleven years.
Farida was born on 5 September 1921 to an Egyptian noble family in Gianaclis, Alexandria. Her father, judge Youssef Zulficar Pasha, was vice president of the Alexandria Mixed Court of Appeals. Her family was Egyptian Circassian. She had as a maternal grandfather prime minister Muhammad Said Pasha and was the niece of renowned artist Mahmoud Said. She attended elementary and primary education at Notre Dame de Sion in Alexandria, a school run by French nuns.
Farida and King Farouk first met on a royal trip to London in 1937. They engaged in the summer of 1937. She married King Farouk on 20 January 1938 at Qubba Palace in Cairo, Egypt. She was renamed Farida in accordance with the tradition initiated by King Fuad I that members of the royal family should bear the same initials. She wore a wedding gown designed by The House of Worth in Paris. She had three daughters: HRH Princess Ferial, HRH Princess Fawzia and HRH Princess Fadia. After the birth of a third daughter, Farouk divorced her, on 19 November 1948. King Farouk cared for the first two daughters, while Farida cared for the youngest one after the divorce.
Queen Farida was born in a time in which motherhood was the only priority of a woman. The birth of a throne heir was especially important. However due to rising influence of the west, the role of the first lady rose to higher grounds. The first lady became an honorary title bearing with it duties of attending charities, fundraisers, commemorations and receiving foreign dignitaries. Queen Farida accepted chair of the Red Crescent Society and was also honorary president of the Feminist Union and the New Woman Alliance. She was also patron of the Egyptian Girl Guide Company which had an important role in community affairs.
Farida stayed in Egypt until 1964, living in Zamalek, a suburb on an island in the Nile. Later she settled in Lebanon where she saw her children after nearly ten years. In March 1965, when King Farouk died in Rome, she and her three daughters visited his body at morgue. Then, she lived in Paris from 1968 to 1974 until she returned to Egypt in 1974, during the presidency of Anwar Al-Sadat. She remained unmarried after the divorce. During the late 1960s, she began painting. An artist, she had personal exhibitions in Europe and USA. One of her exhibitions was in Cairo in May 1980.
Farida was hospitalized in September 1988 due to several health-problems, including leukemia, pneumonia and hepatitis. On 2 October, she was put in intensive care and then, she lapsed into coma. She died of leukemia on 17 October 1988, aged 67, in Cairo.
HRH Princess Ferial (1938–2009)
HRH Princess Fawzia (1940–2005)
HRH Princess Fadia (1943–2002)