THE PRINCESS TRILOGY BY JEAN SASSON PDF
The third and last book completes the PRINCESS TRILOGY, called a "Political rallying cry." by Publisher's Weekly. CIRCLE paints a horrifying reality for. about Jean Sasson and her books, or for updates on. Princess Sultana, women's issues, and Saudi Arabia, please visit the following websites: Author's website. For the first time, the international bestselling PRINCESS books are available in a boxed set. This first book in the nonfiction trilogy describes the true life of Princess Sultana, a princess in the royal house of Saudi Arabia where she lives in a "gilded cage" with no freedom.
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DOWNLOAD The Complete Princess Trilogy: Princess; Princess Sultana's Daughters; and Princess Sultana's Circle by Jean Sasson [PDF EBOOK EPUB. Jean Sasson grew up in a small town in Alabama—her mind always in a book and her hands always searching cover image of The Complete Princess Trilogy. Editorial Reviews. Review. "A fascinating look at the lifestyles of the rich and Saudi." -- Kirkus The Complete Princess Trilogy: Princess; Princess Sultana's Daughters; and Princess Sultana's Circle eBook: Jean Sasson: Kindle Store.
Finally Ali wearied of his torture, but from that time on, when he was only nine years old, he was my devoted enemy. Although I was only seven years old, as a result of the apple incident, I first became aware that I was a female who was shackled by males unburdened with consciences.
I saw the broken spirits of my mother and sisters, but I remained faithful to optimism and never doubted that I would one day triumph and my pain would be compensated by true justice. With this determination, from an early age, I was the family troublemaker. There were pleasant times in my young life too. Widowed, too old for further notice and thus complications from men, she was now merry and filled with wonderful stories from her youth of the days of the tribal battles.
She had witnessed the birth of our nation and mesmerized us with the tales of the valor of King Abdul Aziz and his followers. Sitting cross-legged on priceless Oriental carpets, my sisters and I nibbled on date pastries and almond cakes while immersed in the drama of the great victories of our kinsmen.
This show of loyalty ensured their entry into the Royal Family by the marriages of their daughters. The stage was set for my destiny as a princess. In my youth, my family was privileged, though not yet wealthy. The income from oil production ensured that food was plentiful and medical care available, which at that time in our history seemed the greatest of luxuries.
We lived in a large villa, made of concrete blocks painted snowy white. The thirty-feet-high block walls surrounding our grounds were maintained in the same fashion. As a child, I felt our family home was too large for warm comfort. The long hallways were dark and forbidding. Rooms of various shapes and sizes branched off, concealing the secrets of our lives.
I used to peer into their quarters with the curiosity of the child I was. Dark red velvet curtains closed out the sunlight. A smell of Turkish tobacco and whiskey embraced the heavy atmosphere. Mother had the room painted a bright yellow; as a result, it had the glow of life that was so glaringly absent in the rest of the villa. The family servants and slaves lived in tiny, airless rooms in a separate dwelling set apart at the back of the garden.
I remember the foreign maids and drivers speaking of their dread of bedtime. Their only relief from the heat was the breeze generated by small electric fans. Father said that if he provided their quarters with air-conditioning, they would sleep the whole day through. Only Omar slept in a small room in the main house.
A long golden cord hung in the main entrance of our villa. Then, lungs bursting, I would rush to my bed and lay quiet, an innocent child sleeping soundly. One night my mother was waiting for me as I raced for the bed. With disappointment etched on her face at the misdeeds of her youngest child, she twisted my ear and threatened to tell Father.
But she never did. Our slave population increased each year when Father returned from Haj, the annual pilgrimage to Makkah made by Muslims, with new slave children. Pilgrims from Sudan and Nigeria, attending Haj, would sell their children to wealthy Saudis so that they could afford the return journey to their homeland. The children were our playmates and felt no compulsion to servitude.
In , when our government freed the slaves, our Sudanese family actually cried and begged my father to keep them. My father kept alive the memory of our beloved king, Abdul Aziz.
He spoke about the great man as if he saw him each day. I was shocked, at the age of eight, to be told the old king had died in , three years before I was born!
As a result, our new country was sliding toward political and economic chaos. I recall one occasion in , when the men of the ruling family gathered in our home. I was a very curious seven-year-old at the time. He waved his hands at us as if he were exorcising the house of beasts and literally herded us up the stairwell and into a small sitting room.
Sara, my older sister, pleaded with my mother for permission to hide behind the arabesque balcony for a rare glimpse of our rulers at work. While we frequently saw our powerful male uncles and cousins at casual family gatherings, never were we present in the midst of important matters of state. Our lives were so cloistered and boring that even our mother took pity on us.
That day, she actually joined her daughters on the floor of the hallway to peek through the balcony and listen to the men in the large sitting room below us. As a precaution, she lightly placed her fingers on my lips. If we were caught, my father would be furious.
My sisters and I were captivated by the grand parade of the brothers, sons, grandsons, and nephews of the deceased king. Large men in flowing robes, they gathered quietly with great dignity and seriousness. The stoic face of Crown Prince Faisal drew our attention. Even to my young eyes, he appeared sad and terribly burdened.
The feeling was that it was an odd arrangement, unfair to the country and to Prince Faisal, and unlikely to last. Prince Faisal stood apart from the group. His usual quiet voice rose above the din as he asked that he be allowed to speak on matters that were of grave importance to the family and the country.
Prince Faisal feared that the throne so difficult to attain would soon be lost. Prince Faisal looked hard at the younger princes when he stated in a clear, sure voice that their disregard for the traditional life-style of bedouin believers would topple the throne.
He said his heart was heavy from sadness that so few of the younger royals were willing to work, content to live on their monthly stipend from the oil wealth. A long pause ensued as he waited for comments from his brothers and relatives. As none seemed to be forthcoming, he added that if he, Faisal, were at the controls of the oil wealth, the flow of money to the princes would be cut and honorable work would be sought. He nodded his head at his brother Mohammed and sat down with a sigh.
From the balcony, I noticed the nervous squirming of several youthful cousins. Saudi Arabia is a huge country, and most of the property belongs to our family. In addition, no building contracts are signed without benefit to one of our own. He was rumored to be in the countryside, speaking out against his brother Faisal. I remember when my father had told the story of why the eldest living son after Faisal, Mohammed, was passed over as successor to the throne. My attention returned to the meeting and I heard Prince Mohammed say that the monarchy itself was endangered; he approached the possibility of physically overthrowing the king and installing Prince Faisal in his stead.
Prince Faisal gasped so loudly that the sound stifled Mohammed. Faisal seemed to be weeping as he spoke quietly. He told his kin that he had given his beloved father a deathbed promise that he would never oppose the rule of his brother. If talk of ousting his brother was going to be the heart of the meeting, then he, Faisal, would have to depart.
There was a hum of voices as the men of our family agreed that Mohammed, the eldest brother next to Faisal, should attempt to reason with our king. As the traditional exchange of farewells began, we watched as the men filed as silently from the room as they had entered. As history unfolded, and our family and countrymen watched in sadness, the sons of Abdul Aziz were forced to evict one of their own from his land.
This one act sealed his fate, for it was unthinkable for one brother to insult or threaten another. In the unwritten rule of the bedouin, one brother never turns against the other. A fevered crisis erupted within the family, and the country. He stepped aside and left it to his brothers and the men of religion to decide the best course of action for our young country. In doing so, he took away the personal drama of the movement so that it became a less volatile matter, with statesmen making appropriate decisions.
I was shocked to see her rip her veil from her face in front of our male servants. My sisters and I gathered around our mother, for our auntie was now out of control and screaming accusations about the family. She cried out that the religious council, the Ulema, had arrived at the palace that very morning and had informed her husband that he must step aside as king. I was entranced by the scene before me, for rarely do we view confrontation in our society.
It is our nature to speak softly and agree with those before us and then to handle difficulties in a secret manner. When our auntie, who was a very beautiful woman with long black curls, began to tear out her hair and rip her expensive pearls from her neck, I knew this was a serious matter.
Finally my mother had calmed her enough to lead her to the sitting room for a cup of soothing tea. My sisters gathered around the closed door and tried to hear their whispering. I kicked around the large clumps of hair with my toe and stooped to gather the large smooth pearls. I found myself with fistfuls of pearls and placed them in an empty vase in the hallway for safekeeping.
Mother guided our weeping auntie to her waiting black Mercedes. We all watched as the driver sped away with his inconsolable passenger. But our mother did advise us against feeling harsh toward our uncle Faisal. She said that our auntie had uttered such words because she was in love with a kind and generous man, but such a man does not necessarily make the best ruler.
She told us that Uncle Faisal was leading our country into a stable and prosperous era, and by doing so, he earned the wrath of those less capable. Although by Western standards my mother was uneducated, she was truly wise. For many years, my father refused even to consider the possibility. My five older sisters received no schooling other than to memorize the Koran from a private tutor who came to our home.
For two hours, six afternoons a week, they would repeat words after the Egyptian teacher, Fatima, a stern woman of about forty-five years of age. As the years passed, Father saw that many of the royal families were allowing their daughters the benefit of an education. With the coming of the great oil wealth, which relieved nearly all Saudi women, other than the bedouin tribes people and rural villagers, from any type of work, inactivity and boredom became a national problem. Members of the Royal Family are much wealthier than most Saudis, yet the oil wealth brought servants from the Far East and other poor regions into every home.
There was nowhere to go and little to do, for when I was a child, there was not even a zoo or a park in the city. Mother, weary of five energetic daughters, thought that school would relieve her while expanding our minds. Finally, Mother, with the assistance of Auntie Iffat, wore Father down to weak acceptance. And so it came to be that the five youngest daughters of our family, including Sara and myself, enjoyed the new age of reluctant acceptance of education for females.
Our first classroom was in the home of a royal relative. Our small group of pupils, sixteen in all, was known in those days as a Kutab, a group method then popular for teaching girls. It was there that my favorite sister, Sara, first displayed her brilliance.
She was much quicker than girls twice her age. The teacher even asked Sara if she was a primary graduate, and shook her head in wonder when she learned that Sara was not. Our instructor had been fortunate to have a modern-thinking father who had sent her to England for an education. Because of her deformity, a club-foot, she had found no one who would marry her, so she chose a path of freedom and independence for herself.
She smiled as she told us that her deformed foot was a gift from God to ensure that her mind did not become deformed too. Even though she lived in the home of our royal cousin it was and still is unthinkable for a single woman to live alone in Saudi Arabia , she earned a salary and made her decisions about life without outside influence.
I liked her simply because she was kind and patient when I forgot to do my lessons. Unlike Sara, I was not the scholarly type, and I was happy the teacher expressed little disappointment at my shortcomings. I was much more interested in drawing than in math, and in singing than in performing my prayers. Sara sometimes pinched me when I misbehaved, but after I howled in distress and disrupted the whole class, she left me to my mischievous ways.
Certainly, the instructor truly lived up to the name given her twenty-seven years before—Sakeena, which means tranquility in Arabic. Miss Sakeena told Mother that Sara was the brightest student she had ever taught. After I jumped up and down and yelled, What about me?
With a smile, she said, And Sultana is certain to be famous. That evening at dinner, Mother proudly passed on the remark about Sara to Father. Father, who was visibly pleased, smiled at Sara. Mother beamed with pleasure, but then Father cruelly asked how any daughter born of her belly could acquire learning. Nor did he credit Mother with any contribution to the brilliance of Ali, who was at the top of his class at a modern secondary school in the city.
Presumably, the intellectual achievements of her children were inherited solely from their father. Even today I shudder with dismay while watching my older sisters attempt to add or subtract. I say little prayers of gratitude to Auntie Iffat, for she changed the lives of so many Saudi women. In the summer of , Uncle Faisal had traveled to Turkey, and while there, he fell in love with a unique young woman named Iffat al Thunayan. Hearing that the young Saudi prince was visiting in Constantinople, the young Iffat and her mother approached him about disputed property that had belonged to her deceased father.
The Thunayans were originally Saudis but had been taken to Turkey by the Ottomans during their lengthy rule of the area. Not only did he give her the property, he married her. Later, he was to say it was the wisest decision of his life. My mother said Uncle Faisal had gone from woman to woman, like a man possessed, until he met Iffat. Without her efforts, the women in Arabia today would not be allowed in a classroom.
I was in awe of her forceful character and declared I would grow up to be just like her. She even had the courage to hire an English nanny for her children, who, of all the royal brood, turned out to be the most unaffected by great wealth. Sadly, many of the royal cousins were swept away by the sudden rush of riches. My mother used to say that the bedouin had survived the stark emptiness of the desert, but we would never survive the enormous wealth of the oil fields.
I believe that the children of this generation have decayed with the ease of their lives, and that their great fortune has deprived them of any ambitions or real satisfactions. Surely the weakness of our monarchy in Saudi Arabia is bound up in our addiction to extravagance. I fear it will be our undoing. Most of my childhood was spent traveling from one city to another in my land.
The nomadic bedouin blood flows in all Saudis, and as soon as we would return from one trip, discussions would ensue as to the next journey. We Saudis no longer have sheep to graze, but we cannot stop looking for greener pastures. It was too hot and dry, the men of religion took themselves too seriously, the nights were too cold. Most of the family preferred Jeddah or Taif. Jeddah, with its ancient ports, was more open to change and moderation. There, we all breathed easier in the air of the sea.
We generally spent the months from December to February in Jeddah. We would return to Riyadh for March, April, and May. The heat of the summer months would drive us to the mountains of Taif from June to September.
Then it was back to Riyadh for October and November. Of course, we spent the month of Ramadan and two weeks of Haj in Makkah, our holy city. By the time I was twelve years old, in , my father had become extremely wealthy. But he did build each of his four families four palaces, in Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif, and Spain. The palaces were exactly the same in each city, even to the colors of carpets and furniture selected.
My father hated change, and he wanted to feel as if he were in the same home even after a flight from city to city. He did not want the family to bother with packing suitcases. I found it eerie that when I entered my room in Jeddah or Taif, it was the same as my room in Riyadh, with the identical clothes hanging in identical closets.
My books and toys were purchased in fours, one of each item placed in each palace. My mother rarely complained, but when my father purchased four identical red Porsches for my brother, Ali, who was only fourteen at the time, she cried out that it was a shame—such waste—with so many poor in the world. When it came to Ali, though, no expense was spared. When he was ten years old, Ali received his first gold Rolex watch. I was particularly distressed, for I had asked my father for a thick gold bracelet from the souq marketplace and he had brusquely turned aside my request.
During the second week of Ali flaunting his Rolex, I saw that he had laid it on the table beside the pool. Overcome with jealousy, I took a rock and pounded the watch to pieces. For once, my mischief was not discovered, and it was with great pleasure that I saw my father reprimand Ali for being careless with his belongings. But of course, within a week or so, Ali was given another gold Rolex watch and my childish resentfulness returned with a vengeance.
My mother spoke to me often about my hatred for my brother. A wise woman, she saw the fire in my eye even as I bowed to the inevitable. As the youngest child of the family, I had been the most pampered of the daughters by my mother, sisters, and other relatives.
Looking back, it is hard to deny that I was spoiled beyond belief. Because I was small for my age, in contrast with the rest of my sisters, who were tall with large frames, I was treated as a baby throughout my childhood years. All of my sisters were quiet and restrained, as befitting Saudi princesses.
I was loud and unruly, caring little for my royal image. How I must have tried their patience! But even today, each of my sisters would spring to my defense at the first sign of danger. In sad contrast, to my father, I represented the last of many disappointments. As a consequence, I spent my childhood trying to win his affection.
Finally, I despaired of attaining his love and clamored after any attention, even if it was in the form of punishment for misdeeds. I calculated that if my father looked at me enough times, he would recognize my special traits and come to love his daughter, even as he loved Ali. As it turned out, my rowdy ways ensured that he would go from indifference to open dislike.
My mother accepted the fact that the land in which we had been born was a place that is destined for misunderstandings between the sexes. Still a child, with the world stretching before me, I had yet to reach that conclusion. Looking back, I suppose Ali must have had good character traits along with the bad, but it was difficult for me to see past his one great defect: Ali was cruel.
I watched him as he taunted the handicapped son of our gardener. The poor child had long arms and strangely shaped legs. When Ali found baby kittens, he would lock them away from their mother and howl with glee as the mother cat tried in vain to reach them. After a particularly moving talk from my mother, I prayed about my feelings for Ali and decided to attempt the Saudi way of manipulation instead of confrontation with my brother.
My sisters and I found a tiny puppy that had evidently become lost from its mother. The puppy was whimpering from hunger. My sisters and I took turns with feedings. Within days, the puppy was bouncing and fat. We dressed him in rags and even trained him to sit in our baby carriage. While it is true that most Muslims do not favor dogs, it is a rare person who can harm a baby animal of any species. Even our mother, a devout Muslim, smiled at the antics of the puppy.
One afternoon we were pushing Basem, which means smiling face in Arabic, in a carriage. Ali happened to walk by with his friends.
My sisters and I screamed and fought when he tried to take Basem from our arms. Our father heard the commotion and came from his study. When Ali told him that he wanted the puppy, our father instructed us to hand him over. Ali wanted the puppy; Ali got the puppy.
Tears streamed down our faces as Ali jauntily walked away with Basem tucked under his arm. She is the ninth living daughter of my parents, three years older than I.
Sara had been veiling since her menses, two years earlier. The veil stamped her as a non-person, and she soon ceased to speak of her childhood dreams of great accomplishment. She became distant from me, her younger sister who was as yet unconcerned with the institution of veiling.
Sara was lovely, much more beautiful than I or my sisters. Sara was tall and slim and her skin creamy and white. Her huge brown eyes sparkled with the knowledge that all who saw her admired her beauty. Her long black hair was the envy of all her sisters. In spite of her natural beauty, Sara was genuinely sweet and loved by all who knew her.
Unfortunately, not only did Sara acquire the curse that comes with great beauty, she was also exceptionally bright. In our land, brilliance in a woman assures her future misery, for there is nowhere to focus her genius. Sara wanted to study art in Italy and be the first to open an art gallery in Jeddah. She had been working toward that goal since she was twelve years old.
Her room stayed cluttered with books of all the great masters. Sara made my head swim with descriptions of the magnificent art in Europe. Just before the wedding announcement, when I was secretly plundering through her room, I saw a list of the places she planned to visit in Florence, Venice, and Milan. While it is true that most marriages in my land are guided by the hands of the older females of the families, in our family, Father was the decision maker in all matters.
Long ago, he had decided that his most beautiful daughter would marry a man of great prominence and wealth. Now, the particular man he had chosen to marry his most desirable daughter was a member of a leading merchant family in Jeddah that had decided financial influence with our family. The groom was chosen solely because of past and future business deals. Parinoush Saniee. More Than Rice. Pamala Chestnut. Daring to Drive. Manal al-Sharif. Beyond Belief. Jenna Miscavige Hill. Tell A Thousand Lies.
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Fadwa Carradin. Tears of the Desert. Halima Bashir. An American Bride in Kabul. Phyllis Chesler.A long golden cord hung in the main entrance of our villa. Our slave population increased each year when Father returned from Haj, the annual pilgrimage to Makkah made by Muslims, with new slave children. I found myself with fistfuls of pearls and placed them in an empty vase in the hallway for safekeeping.
He waved his hands at us as if he were exorcising the house of beasts and literally herded us up the stairwell and into a small sitting room. More Confessions of a Hostie.
He was not in his office. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Widowed, too old for further notice and thus complications from men, she was now merry and filled with wonderful stories from her youth of the days of the tribal battles.
My sisters and I gathered around our mother, for our auntie was now out of control and screaming accusations about the family. Chi ama i libri sceglie Kobo e inMondadori.