Last Representative of Ottoman Empire – Usman Ertugrul died in 2009 at the age of 97 years. By Ahmad Jawad


His Imperial Highness Prince Osman Ertugrul of Turkey and Princess Zeynep in their two-bedroom walk-up on Lexington Avenue.

Born in 1912, Mr. Osman was the last surviving grandson of an Ottoman emperor; his grandfather, Abdul Hamid II, ruled from 1876 to 1909. In 1924, the royal family was expelled by Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. “The men had one day to leave,” Mr. Osman said. “The women were given a week.”
Mr. Osman attended school in Vienna and moved to New York in 1939. He returned to Turkey for the first time 53 years later, in August 1992, at the invitation of the prime minister. On that trip, he went to see the 285-room Dolmabahce Palace, which had been his grandfather’s home (and where he had played as a child). He insisted on joining a tour group, despite the summer heat. “I didn’t want a fuss,” he said. “I’m not that kind of person.”
As a young man, Mr. Osman ran a mining company, Wells Overseas, which required him to travel frequently to South America. Because he considered himself a citizen of the Ottoman Empire, he refused to carry the passport of any country. Instead, he traveled with a certificate devised by his lawyer. That might have continued to work had security measures not been tightened after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In 2004, he received a Turkish passport for the first time.