Arabic Royalty. She was the only Queen of Libya. Born in the Libyan oasis of Kufra, Fatima, who never knew her exact birthdate, was descenced from the Sanussi family which had founded a revivalist Moslem sect in Mecca in 1837. At 18, she was forced by tribal warfare to flee to Egypt on camelback, but soon returned; in 1931, she married Idris, a kinsman 20 years her senior, who had succeded to leadership of the Sanussi branch of Islam. In 1949, as a reward for assistance to the British in WWII, Idris was proclaimed Emir of Cyrenaicia. Libya was formed by the United Nations in 1951 as a consolidation of Cyrenaicia and two other Arab states, and Idris became King Idris I. Despite family struggles concerning eventual succession (Idris insisted upon separate inheritances of the kingship and the leadership of the religious group), the couple were, for the most part, well liked. Libya became suddenly wealthy as the result of oil discovery in the 1950s, and proved a liberal Islamic nation, the first to grant women the vote. For her part, Queen Fatima disdained the traditional veil, made numerous public appearances, mixed with the British wives, and wore western attire. In 1969, the kingdom was overthrown by Colonel Quaddafi while Idris was in Egypt for medical treatment; Fatima joined him there, and the couple, having lost their property was forced to live in a Cairo apartment on an Egyptian pension. Tried for treason (in absentia) in 1971, they never returned home. Idris died in 1983, and Fatima, though she later regained a portion of her holdings, lived out her days in exile.
Bio by: Bob Hufford