Egyptian playboy

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Photo: ? Bettmann/Corbis. Princess Marie Marguerite Fahmy, French wife of late Prince Ali Fahmy of Egypt, was a lover of the Prince of Wales.

Photo: ? Bettmann/Corbis.
Princess Marie Marguerite Fahmy, French wife of late Prince Ali Fahmy of Egypt, was a lover of the Prince of Wales.

?What Have I Done, My Dear!

What have I done!”

The Two Princes, the Fran?aise and the perfect murder ? How Marguerite Alibert became Princess Fahmy and shot her husband at the Savoy ?

Late-night diners at the Savoy Hotel in?London?paused between mouthfuls and stared at each other in amazement.?At one of the tables an unseemly row had broken out ? shrieks of rage from a bejeweled French woman in a chic satin Chanel gown, howls of anger from her youthful white-tie-and-tailed Middle Eastern husband.

?Shut up, or I?ll smash this bottle of wine over your head,? she screamed at the top of her voice.

?And I?ll do the same to you,? he hurled back, until waiters intervened to try to calm them down.

To those in the know, this was just another everyday argy-bargy in the volatile six-month marriage of 32-year-old Marguerite, high-class Parisian hooker and notorious gold-digger, and 22-year-old Prince Ali Fahmy, effeminate, filthy-rich Egyptian playboy, besotted with her and intensely jealous.?They were forever clawing and scratching each other, biting and kicking.

But it was more than that this time. A few hours later during a violent thunderstorm, that night in July 1923, there was more loud cursing and rowing in the corridor outside their suite ? followed by the sound of three pistol shots fired in rapid succession.?A hotel porter who rushed to investigate found Ali slumped against a wall in a pool of blood, a bullet through his head, and a hysterical Marguerite bending over his body and crying out, ?J?ai lui tir?? ? ?I?ve shot him.?

If ever there was an open-and-shut murder case, this seemed it. The ambitious Marguerite ? who had slept her way out of the gutter by selling her sexual favours, reeled in scores of wealthy lovers and landed a prince ? seemed certain to be heading for a date with the hangman.?And yet, ten weeks later, after an Old Bailey trial that had Press and public agog at all the lurid sexual details unearthed, she was acquitted. It was one of the most sensational turnarounds in British legal history. How could this have happened?

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