The Alawwite Dynasty: Monarchs of Egypt

Founded by Greek-born Ottoman military commander Muhammad Ali Pasha, who proclaimed himself Khedive of Egypt in 1805, this dynasty —also known as the Muhammad Ali Dynasty— produced ruling monarchs for over a century and a half.  Adopting increasingly loftier titles, the Alawwites ruled Egypt and Sudan as Khedives (1805-1867), Sultans (1914-1922) and Kings (1922-1953). The dynasty’s reign ended in 1953 when the throne of the last King of Egypt and the Sudan, Fuad II, was abolished, and a republic was proclaimed. 

Muhammad Ali (4 March 1769 – 2 August 1849), a commander in the Ottoman army, was initially tasked with driving Napoleon’s forces out of Egypt. However, after aligning with the Egyptian resistance, he seized power in 1805, compelling the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II to recognize him as the Wāli (governor) of Egypt, with the high rank of Pasha. Ali then adopted the grander title of Khedive (Viceroy) without Sultanic recognition. His rule saw the transformation of Egypt into a regional power, directly challenging the Ottoman Empire — of which it was nominally an autonomous province until 1914 — and culminating in the conquest of Sudan and other territories.

Muhammad Ali’s grandson, Isma’il Pasha, educated in Europe, continued his grandfather’s policies of modernization and territorial wars of expansion, finally persuading Ottoman Sultan Abdülaziz to formally recognize him as Khedive of Egypt in 1867, in exchange for financial and military support against the rebelling Christian majority of Crete. The costs incurred resulted in an overwhelming foreign debt. The Khedivate of Egypt officially recognized, Isma’il altered the law of succession from agnatic seniority (brother to brother) to male primogeniture (father to son) and in 1873 obtained further autonomy from the Ottoman Sultans.

When the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in 1914 during World War I, Britain officialized its protectorate over Egypt, which had de facto existed since 1882. In a bid to re-establish the former Sultanate of Egypt, dissolved by the Ottomans in 1517, Hussein Kamel was declared Sultan of Egypt in 1914. Although seemingly an upgrade from the Khedivate, the eight-year-long Sultanate was under British suzerainty until 1922, when Britain granted Egypt qualified independence. 

Three weeks after independence, the second and last Egyptian Sultan, Fuad, changed his title to King Fuad I, thereby establishing the Kingdom of Egypt. Throughout his reign, he attempted to consolidate power through constitutional changes, frequently dissolving parliament and dismissing cabinets. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Egyptian University and cultivated Egyptian historiography.

His son and successor, King Farouk I, was the last crowned monarch of the Alawwite Dynasty. Although initially well-regarded, Farouk I gained notoriety for his lavish lifestyle and his government’s corruption and inefficiency. Upon his overthrow in 1952, he was forced to abdicate in favor of his infant son, King Fuad II, who was represented by a regent and reigned in absentia for less than a year, as by then the Royal Family had gone into exile in Italy, where Farouk I died in 1965.

After his citizenship was restored in 1974, Fuad II— now Head of the Royal House of Egypt —visited Egypt for the first time in 1991. He lives in Switzerland, while his son and heir apparent, Muhammad Ali Farouk, Prince of the Sa’id, born in 1980, resides in Paris, working in real estate. Prince Muhammad Ali is married to Princess Noal of Afghanistan, and his eldest son and successor, Fouad Zaher Hassan, Prince of Egypt, was born in 2017.

Muhammad Ali Khedive of Egypt Alawwite Dynasty Kingdom of Egypt

Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Egypt and the Sudan on a panel of a Royal Carriage. Credit: unknown. Photo taken at Royal Chariots Museum, Cairo, Egypt. Extracted from here.

 Crown Text TK

Image TK Text TK

Reigned as

  • 1922-1952: King (Malik) of Egypt, with style His Majesty
  • 1914–1922: Sultan of Egypt, with style of His Majesty
  • 1867–1914: Khedive (Viceroys) of Egypt
  • 1805-1867: Wāli (Governor) & Khedive (unrecognized by Ottoman Sultan) of Egypt


Alawwite (aka Muhammad Ali Dynasty)

First Monarch

Muhammad Ali (Reigned 09 July 1805 – 01 September 1849)

Last Monarch

  • Crowned: King Farouk I (Reigned 28 April 1936 – 26 July 1952)
  • Uncrowned: King Fuad II (Reigned 26 July 1952 – 18 June 1953)

Current Head

King Fuad II (Last King of Egypt; Head of the Royal House since 1953)


  • Muhammad Ali: None
  • King Farouk I: 29 July 1937 (last Coronation in Egypt)


Objects in our Collection

Pill Box, 1930s-1950s

Silver pill box with the monogram of King Farouk of Egypt (reigned 1936-52).