Şevkefza Kadın

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Şevkefza Kadın
Şevk-efza Valide Sultan Hazretleri.JPG
Valide Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Tenure30 May 1876 – 31 August 1876
PredecessorPertevniyal Sultan
SuccessorPerestu Kadın
Bornc. 1823
Poti, Georgia
Died17 September 1889(1889-09-17) (aged 65–66)
Çırağan Palace, Ortaköy, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
m. 1839; died 1861)
IssueMurad V
Aliye Sultan
Full name
Turkish: Şevkefza Kadın
Ottoman Turkish: شوق افزا قادین
HouseZaurum (by birth)
Ottoman (by marriage)
FatherMehmed Zaurum
MotherCemile Hanım
ReligionSunni Islam

Şevkefza Kadın[1] (c. 1823 – 17 September 1889; meaning "one who cheers up" in Persian; Ottoman Turkish: شوق افزا قادین‎) was the fourth wife of Sultan Abdulmejid I of the Ottoman Empire. She held the position of Valide Sultan from 30 May 1876 to 31 August 1876, when her son Şehzade Murad ascended the throne as Murad V.[2]

Early life[edit]

Şevkefza Kadın was born in 1823 in Poti, Georgia. Her birth name was Vilma. Her father was Mehmed Bey Zaurum, and her mother was Cemile Hanım, an Ubykh. She had a sister named Laleru Hanım (meaning "Tulip-face Lady" in Persian).[3]

When she was seven, Zeynel Abidin Efendi, who had been the first imam of Sultan Mahmud II, presented her in the imperial harem. Her name according to the custom of the Ottoman court was changed to Şevkefza. She served Sultan Mahmud for some seven or eight years. After his death in 1839, she was placed in the entourage of his wife Nurtab Kadın.[3][4]


Şevkefza married Abdulmejid in 1839. She was given the title of "Senior Fortunate".[4] On 21 September 1840, a year after the marriage, she gave birth to her first child, a son, Şehzade Mehmed Murad (later Murad V). On 20 October 1842,[5] she gave birth to her second child, a daughter, Aliye Sultan in the Old Beşiktaş Palace. The princess died at the age of two on 10 July 1845.[6][7]

In 1843, she was elevated to the title of "Fourth Consort", In 1845 to the title of "Third Consort", and in 1852, to the title of "Second Consort".[6] Charles White, who visited Istanbul in 1843, said following about her:

The fourth...according to the assertion of the Stambol [Istanbul] ladies, bears away the palm of beauty from all her colleagues, but is not highly accomplished.[8]

When Bezmiâlem Sultan died in 1853, Şevkefza took courage of Abdulmejid's first wife, the childless Servetseza Kadın's affection for heir Murad and Abdulmejid's wish to see his son as the next Sultan, and rose in opposition to Pertevniyal Sultan and her son Şehzade Abdulaziz.[9]

As Valide Sultan[edit]

On 30 May 1876, her son Murad ascended the throne as Murad V and she became the Valide Sultan.[5]

Her son appointed her reported chief ally, Damat Nuri Pasha, as Lord Pasha, after which Şevkefza and Damat were to have confiscated all the gold coins and jewelry hidden away by Abdülaziz and his mother, the former valide sultan Pertevniyal Sultan, in the harem of Dolmabahçe Palace.[10] The sealed apartments of Pertevniyal were opened and from them eight chests of gold and four chests of debentures were removed. Eight porters were needed to lift each one of the chests with gold. It was said these eight chests contained 5,120 okkas of gold.[11][12]

After reigning for ninety three days, Murad was deposed on 31 August 1876 due to his efforts to implement democratic reforms in the empire, and they were imprisoned in the Çırağan Palace.[13]

It is said that Şevkefza was never reconciled to Murad's deposition. On the night of the Ali Suavi incident, in 1877, When Murad's partisans tried to reinstate him on the throne, Şevkefza encouraged him to play his part. But Murad was too nervous and upset to head the conspiracy. Given his lack of leadership, the conspiracy never stood a chance of succeeding.[14]


In 1889, a swelling on Şevkefza's neck suddenly began to grow. Her illness lasted some three months, with periods of intense fever. Rifat Pasha made every effort to bring her illness under control, but despite all treatment he was not able to save her.[15] She died on 17 September 1889 at the Çırağan Palace, Ortaköy, Istanbul, and was buried in the mausoleum of the new ladies at the Yeni Mosque.[16][17][18]


Şevkefza Kadın and Abdulmejid had two children:

  • Sultan Murad V (21 September 1840 – 29 August 1904, buried in New Mosque), married five times had five children;
  • Aliye Sultan (Istanbul, Old Beşiktaş Palace, 20 October 1842 – 10 July 1845, buried in New Mosque);

In popular culture[edit]

In the 2012 movie The Sultan's Women Şevkefza Kadın is portrayed by Turkish actress Ayşegül Siray.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Uluçay 2011, p. 205.
  2. ^ Brookes 2010, p. 285.
  3. ^ a b Açba 2007, p. 28.
  4. ^ a b Eldem, Edhem (2018). The harem seen by Prince Salahaddin Efendi (1861-1915). Searching for women in male-authored documentation. p. 21.
  5. ^ a b Brookes 2010, p. 16.
  6. ^ a b Sakaoğlu 2008, p. 578.
  7. ^ Uluçay 2011, p. 221.
  8. ^ Charles White (1846). Three years in Constantinople; or, Domestic manners of the Turks in 1844. London, H. Colburn. p. 9.
  9. ^ Sakaoğlu, Necdet (2007). Famous Ottoman women. Avea. p. 232.
  10. ^ İrtem, Süleyman Kâni; Kocahanoğlu, Osman S. (2003). Sultan Murad ve Ali Suavi olayı: Sarıklı ihtilâlcinin Çırağan baskını. Temel. p. 20. ISBN 978-9-754-10050-1.
  11. ^ Brookes 2010, p. 41.
  12. ^ Sakaoğlu 2008, p. 540.
  13. ^ Brookes 2010, p. 17.
  14. ^ Fanny Davis (1986). The Ottoman Lady: A Social History from 1718 to 1918. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-313-24811-5.
  15. ^ Brookes 2010, p. 98.
  16. ^ Brookes 2010, p. 290.
  17. ^ Sakaoğlu 2008, p. 585.
  18. ^ Uluçay 2011, p. 206.
  19. ^ Cast of the 2012 movie "The Sultan's Women", retrieved 2019-04-05


  • Uluçay, M. Çağatay (2011). Padişahların kadınları ve kızları. Ötüken. ISBN 978-9-754-37840-5.
  • Açba, Harun (2007). Kadın efendiler: 1839-1924. Profil. ISBN 978-9-759-96109-1.
  • Sakaoğlu, Necdet (2008). Bu Mülkün Kadın Sultanları: Vâlide Sultanlar, Hâtunlar, Hasekiler, Kandınefendiler, Sultanefendiler. Oğlak Yayıncılık. ISBN 978-6-051-71079-2.
  • The Concubine, the Princess, and the Teacher: Voices from the Ottoman Harem. University of Texas Press. 2010. ISBN 978-0-292-78335-5.
Ottoman royalty
Preceded by
Pertevniyal Sultan
Valide Sultan
30 May 1876 – 31 August 1876
Succeeded by
Perestu Kadın