Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Editors Presented to
Her Royal Highness
Princess Michael of Kent

Descended from Catherine DeMedici and Diane de Poitiers, Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent was born in Bohemia and descends from ancient European lineage on both sides of her Family. She is the wife of Prince Michael of Kent, grandson of King George V and the first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. She is the author of three bestselling historical books, including The Serpent and the Moon which was awarded Le Prix Histoire in 2005.

Meeting Her Royal Highness was the result of Expat Harem’s US book tour sponsor, Demet Sabancı Çetindoğan, gifting our anthology to the Princess at Kensington Palace earlier this month. The next day, the Princess, apparently quite taken with the book, asked Demet Hanım to arrange for us to meet during her visit to Istanbul!

It was an intimate dinner for six at Demet Hanım’s magnificent home, the Zarif Mustafa Paşa Yalı, a 19th century Ottoman mansion opposite the Rumeli Hisar fortress. Once owned by the coffee magnate of Sultan Mahmut II, the Bosphorus mansion, built on the ruins of a Byzantine monastery, is said to still contain its sacred water source, or ayazma, in the garden.

Coming fresh off his well-received show at September’s New York Fashion Week was the Vienna-based world-class international fashion designer Atıl Kutoğlu, loved for his Ottoman-inspired fabrics and cuts, utilizing miniatures and calligraphy on lustrous materials like silks, leather, and velvet.

Hosting Her Royal Highness in her nearby home and joining us at dinner was Turkey’s first lady of the arts and patroness of Turkish culture, Çiğdem Simavi. Istanbul representative for Christie’s auction house, Çiğdem Hanım is also the founder and president of KÜSAV, the Foundation for Fine Arts and Cultural Heritage. From 30 November- 3 December, along with the EKAV Foundation, KÜSAV will hold an exhibit of jewelry design at EKAV Vakıf Sanat Merkezi in Zincirlikuyu, Istanbul.

Demet Hanım, one of Turkey’s leading businesswomen, is the proud new owner of the television channel FashionTV Turkey and aims to create an annual Fashion Week Istanbul, to join New York, Paris, and Milan! Demet Hanım has also recently founded a research and development facility in Rize for the advancement of stem cell research in Turkey.

Surrounded by such enchanting dining companions, basking in the mesmerizing majesty of the Princess --it was a fairy tale evening we won’t soon forget!

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