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Frenchwoman Marie-Marguerite Laurient began her affair with Egyptian Prince Ali Kamel Fahmy Bey in May 1922 in Paris, following her divorce from her first husband. The 23-year-old Prince Ali, attached to the French legation in Cairo, was extravagant and allegedly had a sadistic bent.

It was rumoured in Egypt that Ali was homosexual, but this was not in evidence when he passionately pursued Laurient, who had years before her marriage called herself Maggie Mellor. He was captivated by the elegant brunette divorcee, who was ten years his senior, and took her back to Cairo where he suggested they live together.

When Laurient balked, the prince proposed marriage, and Laurient accepted, but with conditions. A contract was drawn up that permitted her to wear western-style clothing and to divorce the prince at any time.

In return, she would convert to the Muslim faith, thereby ensuring All’s inheritance. But when the religious ceremony took place, Fahmy ordered the divorcee clause removed, allowing him to take three wives if help eased.

Marguerite found Fahmy to be an abusive husband. He frequently beat her and assigned a houseboy to follow her throughout her day, even when she undressed. The couple travelled to London on July 10, 1923, and registered at the elegant Savoy Hotel.
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