HH Abbas II Hilmi Bey (also known as Abbas Hilmi Pasha) (14 July 1874, Alexandria or Cairo – 19 December, Geneva) was the last Khedive of Egypt and Sudan (8 January 1892 )
Abbas II was the great-great-grandson of Muhammad Ali. He succeeded his father, Tewfik Pasha, as Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. As a boy he visited the United Kingdom, and he had a British tutor for some time in Cairo. He then went to school in Lausanne, and from there passed on to the Theresianum in Vienna. In addition to Arabic and Turkish language|Turkish, he had good conversational knowledge of English, French and German.
He was still in college in Vienna when he assumed the throne of the Khedivate of Egypt upon the sudden death of his father. He was barely of age according to Egyptian law; eighteen in cases of succession to the throne. For some time he did not cooperate very cordially with the United Kingdom, whose army had occupied Egypt in 1882. As he was young and eager to exercise his new power, he resented the interference of the British Agent and Consul General in Cairo, Sir Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer|Evelyn Baring, later made Earl_of_Cromer|Lord Crome. At the outset of his reign, Khedive Abbas surrounded himself with a coterie of European advisers who opposed the British occupation of Egypt and Sudan and encouraged the young Khedive to challenge Cromer by replacing his ailing prime minister with a nationalist. At Cromer's behest, Lord Roseberry, the British foreign secretary, sent him a letter stating that the Khedive was obliged to consult the British consul on such issues as cabinet appointments. In January 1894 Abbas, while on an inspection tour of Egyptian army installations near the southern border, the Mahdists being at the time still in control of Sudan, made public remarks disparaging the Egyptian army units commanded by British officers. The British commander of the Egyptian army, Sir Herbert Kitchener, immediately offered to resign. Cromer strongly supported Kitchener and pressed the Khedive and prime minister to retract the Khedive's criticisms of the British officers. From that time on, Abbas no longer publicly opposed the British, but secretly created, supported, and sustained the nationalist movement, which came to be led by Mustafa Kamil. As Kamil's thrust was increasingly aimed at winning popular support for a National Party, Khedive Abbas publicly distanced himself from the Nationalists.
In time he came to accept British counsels. In 1899 British diplomat Alfred Mitchell-Innes was appointed Under-Secretary of State for Finance in Egypt, and in 1900 Abbas paid a second visit to Britain, during which he frankly acknowledged the great good the British had done in Egypt, and declared himself ready to follow their advice and to cooperate with the British officials administering Egyptian and Sudanese affairs. The establishment of a sound system of native justice, the great remission of taxation, the reconquest of Sudan, the inauguration of the substantial irrigation works at Aswan, and the increase of cheap, sound education, each received his formal approval. He displayed more interest in agriculture than in statecraft. His farm of cattle and horses at Qubbah, near Cairo, was a model for scientific agriculture in Egypt, and he created a similar establishment at Muntazah, near Alexandria. He married the Princess Ikbal Hanem and had several children. Muhammad Abdul Mun'im, the heir-apparent, was born on 20 February 1899.
His relations with Cromer's successor, Sir Eldon Gorst, were excellent, and they co-operated in appointing the cabinets headed by Butrus Ghali in 1908 and Muhammad Sa'id in 1910 and in checking the power of the Nationalist Party. The appointment of Kitchener to succeed Gorst in 1911 displeased Abbas, and relations between him and the British deteriorated. Kitchener often complained about "that wicked little Khedive" and wanted to depose him.
In 1914 the Protectorate was made official, and the title of the head of state, which had changed from pasha to khedive in 1867, was changed to sultan, to repudiate the vestigial suzerainty of the Ottoman sultan, who was backing the Central powers in the Weltkrieg. Abbas II was deposed as khedive and replaced by his uncle, Husayn Kamil, as sultan.
Upon his death in 1917, his only son, Prince Kamal al-Din Husayn, declined the succession, and Husayn Kamil's brother Ahmed Fuad ascended the throne as Fuad I. With the signing of the Peace with Honour, Egypt remained under British control. However, Arab nationalism led to violent riots which convinced the British to unilaterally declare Egyptian independence in 1922, abolishing the protectorate and establishing an independent Kingdom of Egypt. Britain retained control of the Canal Zone, Sudan and Egypt's external protection. When the 1925 British Revolution broke out, Egypt occupied Sudan, but was forced to give control over the Suez Canal to Germany. Fuad I, who was seen as a British puppet, was forced to flee and was replaced by his predecessor and nephew Abbas II. With the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the recent years, Arabs nationalism is on the rise and Egypt decided to organise the first Congress of Arab Nations, which will be held in 1937. Together with Hejaz, they might try to free the Arabs still living under the Ottoman rule.
Marriages and Progeny
He married firstly in Cairo on 19 February 1895 and had six children:
- HH Princess Emine Hilmi Khanum Efendi (Montaza Palace, Alexandria, 12 February 1895 - ?), unmarried and without issue
- HH Princess Atiye Hilmi Khanum Efendi (Cairo, 9 June 1896 - ? ), unmarried and without issue
- HH Princess Fethiye Hilmi Khanum Efendi (27 November 1897 - 30 November 1923), unmarried and without issue
- HH Prince/HRH Prince Muhammad Abdel Moneim Bey Efendi, Heir Apparent and Regent of Egypt and Sudan
- HH Princess Lütfiye Şevket Hilmi (Cairo, 29 September 1900 - ?), married in Constantinople on 5 May 1923 to Omar Muhtar Katırcıoğlu (1902 - Çamlıca, near Üsküdar, Bosphorus, 15 July 1935), and had issue:
- Emine Neşedil Katırcıoğlu (b. 1927),
- Zehra Kadriye Katırcıoğlu (b. 1929),
- HH Prince Muhammed Abdel Kader (4 February 1902 - Montreux, 21 April 1919)
He married secondly to Marianne Török de Szendrö (Who later took the name Zübeyde Cavidan Hanım) at Çubuklu, Bosphorus, on 1 March 1910 and divorced her in 1913.
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star of Sweden-1890
- Grand Cross of the Order of Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary-1891
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG)-1891
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB)-1892
- Grand Cross of the Legion d'Honneur of France-1892
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog of Denmark-1892
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion-1892
- Order of the House of Osman of Ottoman Empire-1895
- Order of Honour of Ottoman Empire-1895
- Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold of Austria-1897
- Grand Cross of the Order of Chula Chom Klao, special class of Siam-1897
- Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)-1900
- Royal Victorian Chain (RVC)-1905
- Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III of Spain-1905
- Grand Cross of the Order of Duke Peter Friedrich Ludwig of Oldenburg-1905
- Grand Cross of the Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order-1905
- Grand Cross of the Order of Albert of Saxony-1905
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer of Greece-1905
- Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Danilo I of Montenegro-1905
- Grand Cross of the Order of Carol I of Romania-1905
- Grand Cross of the Order of Pius IX of the Vatican-1905
- Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Stephen of Austria-Hungary-1905
- Knight of the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky of Russia-1908
- Knight of the Order of Saint Stanislaus of Russia-1908
- Knight of the Order of the Royal House of Chakri of Siam-1908
- Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus of Italy-1911
- Grand Cross of the Order of Ludwig of Hesse-1911
- Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold of Belgium-1911
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Ethiopia-1911
- Grand Cordon of the Sharifan Order of Ouissam Alaouite of Morocco-1913
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Black Eagle of Albania-1914
- Grand Cross w/Collar of the Order of the Red Eagle of Prussia-1914
- Grand Cordon special class of the Order of the Exalted of Zanzibar-1914