Egypt’s former first lady to publish her memoirs


On May 13, 2011, Suzanne Mubarak, wife of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak began writing her memories following a 15-day detention order issued against her on charges of illicit gains and abuse of power.

On September 12, 2011, an amount of 10 million sterling pounds was deposited in the former first lady’s account A British bank in return for selling the copyright of the memoirs to the Scotland-based Canongate Books, one of the largest publishing houses in the U.K., the Egyptian weekly magazine Rose al-Youssef reported.

In “Egypt’s First Lady: 30 Years on the Throne of Egypt,” to be published this year, Mubarak says that the United States gave her and her family asylum. A special envoy from the United States, she wrote, arrived in Cairo in early February 2011 with all the documents required to have in order to leave Egypt, but her husband refused to leave.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait gave the Mubarak family the same offer. However, the author adds, all those asylum documents were taken from the family in the Red Sea city of Sharm al-Sheikh on February 11, 2011, the day the president stepped down.

In the memoirs, Mubarak recounts how she had a nervous breakdown when she knew she was to be arrested, which drove her to try to commit suicide through overdosing on sleeping pills.

She was later rescued and her husband contacted several countries and begged many officials to let her stay with him in the hospital. His wish was granted, provided that she does not leave the hospital.

Mubarak’s legal situation, she writes, was then cleared when she gave up all her wealth. She was released four days after the arrest warrant was issued. These, she said, were the worst days she has ever experienced in Egypt.

In the memoirs, Mubarak talks about her childhood and her fondness of Agatha Christie books and Alfred Hitchcock movies. Influenced by those two artists, she began writing horror stories, and they frightened her schoolmates.

She was also interested in ballet, and her dream was to become a flight attendant. Her love for being in the air, she adds, was part of the reason she was attracted to pilot Hosni Mubarak.

She also mentions that Queen Nazli, mother of Egypt’s last king, Farouk, was her role model, and that she had nightmares in which she was dressed in the queen’s clothes and about to be executed. The recurrence of this dream made her resort to a psychiatrist, who also treated the former president.

Her fascination with royalty is also demonstrated in the way she liked to be referred to as “her majesty,” and many of her friends used to call her that. She writes that an Israeli newspaper used this designation in reference to her when a report it published said that Mubarak saw herself as the queen of Egypt since she was the woman who stayed on the throne of Egypt for the longest from Pharaonic times till the present moment.

She also expresses her infatuation with jewelry and her sadness when all the jewelry she had was confiscated after the revolution without distinguishing between personal items and ones owned by the state.

She writes that she greatly admired archeological sites and historic monuments and that she was the first Egyptian woman to see several tombs before they were opened to the public. She even used to request to touch certain parts in them because she felt some kind of “spell” emanating from them.

Among the secrets Mubarak reveals in her memoirs is that her husband did not think that he would be able to leave the palace and was almost certain that he would be assassinated. That is why he asked the Presidential Guard not to leave him alone for one minute and even used to let them accompany him to the bathroom.

The memoirs, whose unfinished draft is at the publishers headquarters in 14 High Street, Edinburgh, were translated by a professional Lebanese translator who is based in London and works in the Translation Department in Scotland Yard.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)