17 Nov: The Last Sultan

Mehmet VI stepped on to a British warship to seek refuge in Malta on 17th November, 1922 – thereby becoming the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, a dynasty stretching back to the 14th Century. 

He was accompanied by his first Chamberlain, his doctor, two secretaries, a valet, a barber, two eunuchs, and a bandmaster. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly dig into the archives to see how the event was portrayed in the triumphant West; consider the fate of the Royals left behind in modern-day Turkey; and ponder what ‘cautiously optimistic exile music’ might sound like..

Further Reading:

• ‘Great Ottoman Empire in Turkey’ (Go Turkey Tourism):


• ‘CONSTANTINOPLE 1922-1923, WHERE NOTHING HAPPENS AS ONE EXPECTS’, (Major P A J Wright OBE, The Guards Magazine, 2016): http://guardsmagazine.com/features/Autumn2016/16autumn_04Constantinople.html

• ‘Ten Minute History – The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Birth of the Balkans’ (History Matters, 2018): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96n33WWgE9g

We had EVEN MORE to say about why Mehmet brought his eunuchs to Malta, rather than his wives. To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors!

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.