5 Mart 1924 akşamı Sirkeci Garı’ndan kalkan trenin yolcuları dönüşü olmayan uzun bir yola çıkıyordu. 3 Mart 1924’te alınan sürgün kararıyla hanedan üyeleri, 600 yıl hükmettikleri topraklardan çıkarılıyorlardı. 1903 yılında doğup imparatorluğun acılı günlerine şahitlik eden Şehzade Ali Vâsıb Efendi de yolcular arasındaydı.
V. Murad’ın torunu Ali Vâsıb Efendi, hem 1924’e kadar Osmanlı topraklarında gördüklerini hem de sürgün sonrasında Macaristan, Fransa ve Mısır’da yaşadığı ve tanık olduğu şeyleri hatıratında topladı. Ali Vâsıb Efendi’nin hatıratının önemi, kendisinin, saltanat dönemi ve sonrası sürgün hatıralarını yazan tek şehzade olmasıdır. 1983’te vefat ettiğinde, Osmanlı devletinin son senelerini memlekette yetişkin olarak geçirmiş hiçbir şehzade hayatta kalmamıştı. Hanedan üyelerine dair ayrıntılı bilgiler veren kitap tarih yazımına ciddi bir katkı sunuyor.
H.I.H. Prince Ali Vâsıb was born in the Çırağan Palace, on the shores of the Bosphorus in İstanbul, in 1903. His memoirs deal with the life and times of the Ottoman Imperial family during the last years of the Ottoman Sultanate. During his years in İstanbul, he was in the presence of the last three Sultans and witnessed the First World War, the abolition of the Sultanate on 1st November 1922 and that of the Caliphate on 3rd March 1924, at which time he was exiled along with the rest of the Imperial family. His exile first took him to Hungary, then 10 years in the South of France, before eventually settling in Egypt. He was finally allowed to return to his homeland in 1974, after half a century in exile. Ali Vâsıb Efendi is the only Ottoman Imperial Prince to have written his memoirs, and they give a unique insight into the people and politics of his day.
In addition, the book contains family trees and statistics relating to the period from Sultan Mahmud II (beginning of the 19th century) up to the present day.
• H.I.H. Prince Ali Vâsıb, the great-grandson of Sultan Murad V, was at various times in the presence of the last four Ottoman Sultans as well as the last Caliph.
• He personally knew the leading figures of the time – such as Enver Pasha.
• He was a witness to key events in Ottoman history during the last days of the Empire.
• He lived through the occupation of İstanbul by the Allies – the Ottoman court’smost difficult period– and then the exile of the Ottoman Dynasty in 1924.
• From 1925 to 1935 he lived on the Côte d’Azur, where manymembers of deposed European royal families had congregated
• Later on, whilst living in Egypt, he experienced a second traumawith the overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy.