On 10 July 1923, London experienced its worst storm for many years.
For over two hours the sky was illuminated by continuous flashes that gave buildings an eerie appearance, and at least once what seemed to be a gigantic fireball broke into a million fragments of dazzling fiery sparks.
At the height of this thunderous activity, Prince Ali Kamel Fahmy Bey who was staying at the Savoy Hotel, was shot dead by Marguerite, his French wife of six months. She claimed she was trying to protect herself from his violent sexual advances.
“He had spoken of his responsibility to extend the Fahmy dynasty, but his sexual modus operandi, done behind her back, so to speak, was neither purposely nor incidentally towards that end. Being petite of rump, she was physically pained as well as mentally disturbed by his unconventional approach.
She shot him three times during a heated argument about, among other things, an operation which she wished to have in a Paris hospital and her husband preferred her to have in London.
“Her ailment had been caused by her husband, and made worse still, by the continuance of the pastime that had caused it.
Sir Edward Marshall-Hall, the barrister who defended the Princess, cast aspersions upon the murdered husband’s character and implied an improper relationship existed between the Prince and his male secretary. Many believed Marguerite was acquitted because the jury found the idea of a beautiful white woman being constantly watched by black servants too abhorrent
The testimony that turned the tide and made Marguerite Fahmy a free woman was her recital of how her husband had her shadowed “by ugly black men,” who in obedience to his orders invaded even the privacy of her boudoir and the room where she slept.
That melted the heart of this stern English jury. They could not think of finding her guilty after hearing how she had been followed while she waked and slept, while she dressed and undressed, followed through all the most intimate moments of a woman’s life by the eyes of these spies.
One presumes the acquitted Princess was able to then have her surgical procedure at the hospital of her choice. She was welcomed back to Paris as a heroine, appearing in the social pages for a few years before dropping into obscurity. Marshall-Hall was criticised for his racist remarks but remained a popular figure in legal circles. The dead Prince became another name on the list of those who were cursed by the opening of Tutankhamen’s tomb…..