The Strange Story of Aimée du Buc de Rivéry

The strange story of Aimée du Buc de Rivéry falls somewhere between history and myth. Aimée was the daughter of wealthy French plantation owners in Pointe Royale on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean. Aimée, a cousin of the French Empress Josephine,  attended a convent school in France. Aimée and Josephine were reported to have consulted a fortune teller who foretold that Josephine would marry a king but Aimée would be loved by one greater than a king in a land far away. Napoleon, Josephine’s husband, became an Emperor of France but Aimée was said to have landed in the harem of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

 In 1788, on a voyage home, Aimée’ ship vanished. She was only eleven years old (Some accounts say 15.) Story has it that the ship was attacked and taken by Barbary pirates. Further, the Bey of Algiers bought her and sent her to Constantinople as a gift to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

 Later stories have her as a harem concubine by the name of Naksh-i-Dila, who became Valide Sultan – a mother of a Sultan.  (All Christians in the harem were given Muslim names.) She was rumored to have borne a child (posthumously) who later became Sultan .  Aimée was said to have taught French to the Sultan, redecorated the palace in the Rococo style, and sent a permanent ambassador to France.

 My Take: There are no facts that support this story. The Sultan died the year after her ship was supposed to have been taken, so the chronology would be very tight – even if the child was born posthumously. Anyway, a nice story.

This May – The Regency Revealed.   Rita Bay

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