Princess Ferial was born on 17 November 1938. At the time of her birth, King Farouk was eighteen years of age and his wife, Farida of Egypt, was seventeen. Her birth was marked by nationwide celebrations which included the distribution of clothes and free breakfasts to thousands of poor. In addition, each of the 1,700 families of infants born on the same day were given one Egyptian pound, which was a large sum at that time. Princess Ferial was later joined by two more sisters, Princesses Fawzia and Fadia. In search of an heir, King Farouk divorced Queen Farida in 1949 and married Narriman Sadek. That marriage produced Fuad II, Ferial's half-brother and last King of Egypt.

Life in exile 

In 1952, the Revolution by the Free Officers sent the Royal Family into exile in Italy. She left Egypt at the age of 13 on the royal yacht Mahroussa.  The family's time in exile was spent in Naples, Capri and Rome. Ferial's correspondence with her mother Farida shows that she was very sad to leave Egypt and especially the people she knew and loved there 

Ferial was unable to return to Egypt while Nasser remained in power. Not until 1973, three years into Sadat's regime was she allowed access to the country and permitted an Egyptian passport. She would later spend her summers in Egypt with her daughter Yasmine visiting relatives  


At the will of their father Farouk, Princess Ferial and her sisters were educated privately, and then at Grand Verger Finishing School a boarding school in Lutry, Switzerland. Their mother stayed in Egypt for 10 years after their exile eventually moving to Lebanon and then reuniting with them in Switzerland

Family life  

Her father Farouk was a very strict parent during their exile requiring the sisters to get permission for even trivial things such as hair cuts and wearing nail polish. Her father only gave her permission to teach at a sectarian school in Lausanne if she kept her identity a secret 

Ferial lived the majority of her life after her marriage outside of Montreux, where she taught typing and French literature. Later when she married, she and her husband operator a hotel in the area   

In 1966, she married the Swiss Jean-Pierre Perreten, at Westminster, London. Perreten was the son of a Swiss hotelier and converted to Islam to make the marriage possible. He took on the name Samir Cheriff as part of his conversion  

They had one daughter, Yasmine Perreten-Shaarawi, in 1967. In 2004 she married 'Ali Sha'arawi who is the grandson of Huda Sha'arawi the iconic Egyptian author and feminist  

Ferial and Perreten divorced quickly after their daughter's birth and shortly thereafter in 1968 Perreten died. She did not remarry 

After her mother died in 1988, the sisters were prompted to file a lawsuit against the Egyptian government over their ownership of a royal palace in the Nile Delta. The sisters believed that the land and property belonged to their mother and that with her death, they were the rightful owners of the property. However the Egyptian court ruled against them because their parents' divorce had voided their mother's claim to the land even before all royal property was taken over during the revolution  

Princess Ferial spent the rest of her life out of the public eye taking care of her siblings. Her sister Fawzia suffered from multiple sclerosis and died in 2005. Her brother Fouad went through a great depression after his divorce from his wife Dominique-France Picard. While Ferial wasn't supportive of this marriage she supported her brother through his emotional struggles