"Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia" - Jean P Sasson 1992

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May 23, 2004
Los Angeles
United States
"Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia" - Jean P Sasson 1992

Have you read the books: "A true story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia" and " Princess Sultana's daughters"?
I have these books for quite while and I take them everywhere I go:)
Sultana (of course this is not her real name) is a Saudi princess who describes the life of the women behind the veils. Honestly, I still have hard time to believe some ot these stories. Anyway, the books are really wonderful.
If you have read the book and if you are especially from Saudi Arabia or the region there, please coment on the books.
hi victoria1999... i haven't read the books but maybe you can tell us what was shocking about it??

also --- do you thing the author may have exaggerated in order to sell more books in the West?
In the first book, she talks about her life from childhood until 1992. In the second book, she talks about her daughters and her son.

She starts by talking around how the country has developed over the years (some history), how poor her ancestors were and how rich the royal family is now. She is very proud of her country and religion, but she cannot stand how men treat women. In the beginning she says about her parents and the way that her brother was raised compare to his sisters. Different stories from childhood. There are few stories about either members of the royal family or ordinary people that are really shocking. I don't remember them in order, but...one of them is about Princess Michael. Also the best friend of one of her sisters fall in love with an American and when her uncle (the parents were dead) found out, he went mad. They brought her to Saudi Arabia, tried to arrange a marriage with a very old man, but at the end the uncle decided to locked her in a dark empty room without windows, doors and any furniture. She was locked there for 25 years before she died.

Another friend of Sultana was killed in the family pool because the religious police saw her to meet with a young man.

The last shocking story that I am going to mention here is from the time when Sultana was in the hospital to give birth to her first child. She heard the story about a 14 years old girl who had her baby in the same hospital and few hours after the delivery the police took her to the desert and she was killed with stones because she was raped and got pregnant before marriage. Sultana saw her leaving the hospital with security. Her family did not want to have anything to do with the baby.

The books are by Jean Sasson. The first one is called Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia. The second one is called Princess Sultana's Daughters. And the third one is called Princess Sultana's Circle. Its been a while since I read them but they are very powerful books. The first one espec. I think that is my favorite of all three.

Here is a link to Barnes & Nobles website w/ info for the 1st vol.: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=aa7n5LwBjh&isbn=0967673747&itm=2
And here is the link for Amazon.com's site:
I didn't know that there is a third book. What does she talk about in it?

The first one is my favorite as well.
Victoria1999 said:
I didn't know that there is a third book. What does she talk about in it?

The first one is my favorite as well.

I'll quote from the book jacket of the third book:
"Now, with Princess Sultana's Circle, the extraordinary story of Sultana continues. The forced marriage of Sultana's niece to a cruel and depraved older man, and Sultana's discovery of the harem of s** slaves kept by a royal cousin, makes her more determined than ever to fight the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia."
Here is a link to order it (if you want) from Barnes & Noble...it also shows what the book looks like
And also has some info on the book when you scroll down it.
I'm not condemning any specific religion or country, but unfortunately, these things do happen. I remember a recent case in Pakistan where a woman was kidnapped and gang raped by some of the top men in the village because her brother was caught talking to a woman of a more prominent family. Unfortunately, that's a true story. And if someone hadn't thrown that story under the world's scrutiny, the men who did that to her would have gotten away with it.

I don't specifically know if those books are true stories. Though the concepts are horrifying and agonizing, they aren't suprising. Some cultures still wish to retain the concept of "an eye for an eye" or sometimes even worse. History is littered with tales of how women are persecuted and punished for something they themselves did not personally do or ask for.
Hi victoria , personally I didn't read those books and I don't know if those books are true stories or not , I did visit saudi arabia a lot because I have relative there and some of them did meet or know members of the royal family and I mean the female members and what I understand that they seems have a normal life but you know who knows what is going inside the family , the members of the royal family their are very large maybe 3 thousand member so I don't believe that they all live in the same style it is not make sense for me , I noticed from reading books and articles was wrote by western writers about arab world that they go fare with their fantasy , I even did read translating book and the writer did mentioned my tribe and it seemed to me he talking about another people looooool , and I talked with people from west who don't have any idea how we live or think but they find it easy to make adjudgment about us !
I don't want to go off topic so I will stop here and thanx again for this thread .
I read these books several years ago and have copies of all 3, they are shocking and a real eye-opener. i've always been aware of he opulence and extravagance of the Saudi Royal Family, but what disgusted me was the complete depravity of so many of the Saudi Princes.
I have read and re-read these books numerous times and have even been some what of a PRO for the books and recommend to whoever i can the books.it is startling for even royalty to live like that!!!
I'm not saying that this woman's experiences are what goes on in every Saudi or Saudi royal family (I hope no one took it that way.). I was just commenting on the book. Of couse like someone said, we don't know what goes on behind closed doors. This story might be true to this one woman & it might be the only case in the family. The books are very good tho.
Thank you for the responds.

I am gona get the third book in the next few days. I still cannot believe that I never heard of it:)
Jean Sassoon has also been involved with a book called "Mayada: Daughter of Iraq", if anyone hasn't read it already I strongly recommend it!
i think the stories are very rare examples. even in saudi arabia... i think saudi arabia gets stereotyped a lot and you know, it's a completely different place when you visit it. yes, the women wear veils but you see them out and about and just because they wear veils doesn't mean they are oppressed. and seriously, you shoudl see all the fashionable clothing these women are wearing underneath their veils. it's absolutely amazing.

i'm sure there is some truth to these stories and its very unfortunate but frankly i don't know what to believe. i think there may be some exaggeration but then again, what do i know for sure?
I also think the stories are from a while ao...not current times (re: 2000s, 1990s, 1980s). I can't remember exactly when they took place.
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Hi.I watched this special on ABC like 6 months ago on Saudi Royals.First of the show commented upon how there are about 4000 royal members in Saudi Royal family.The family is worth close to 25 billion dollars.One royal member (don't remember his name) was worth close 250 million dollars.They showed his life style and how his family was living, and let me say this, Donald Trump watch your back!:) The family was vacationing in Miami and the princes wife looked like any other female walking down the street.The program also talked about other royal members, and how many of them drink!:eek:

They did a segment on this one Saudi princess who went clubbing and so on. Many pictures were also brodcasted, all the princess' resembled Lindsay Lohan!(attire wise.) Almost all of the Saudi Royals visit U.S regularly, for vacations, parties and etc.One of the royal members also came on Opera and talked about her freedom.Another Kawaiti Royal member (also on Opera) said that many of her friends go to France to buy their wedding gowns.

Anyways, the point of all this info was to say that from all that I have heard and seen, Saudi female Royal members have a lot of freedom.I have not read any of the books you guys are talking about, and quite honestly don't plan to. The respected princess who wrote this book and claims that she was abused or neglected as a child sure seems to be very confident now.How come she wasn't scared when she was writting this book, after all she saw what happend to her friends? I assume the Lady is still alive, so how come she wasn't killed, we all know how cruel the Saudi Royal family is.:rolleyes: I don't believe these stories are true. Sure maybe one or two, but they probably have been exagerated to sell the book.(someone mentioned this possibility.) I am just voicing my concern and don't mean to offend anyone with what I've said.:)
She wrote under a different name Sultana isn't her real name.
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even if she did wrote under a different name , when saudi authorities want to get her they will do , maybe she is not even from saudi arabia loooool , it is amazing what people can do to make money .
Question? Have any Saudi Princess married into other Middle Eastern Royal Families? I've always been curious abt. that
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Lady Jennifer said:
Question? Have any Saudi Princess married into other Middle Eastern Royal Families? I've always been curious abt. that

I heared that members in Sbah family ( the royal family of kuwait ) did married from the saudi royal family , but for realy I am not sure .
by the way I heard on TV that the saudi royal family in particular the king family did married from jordan royal family , I don't think that arabic channel will lie about that but who and when they didn't say it .
Lady Jennifer said:
Question? Have any Saudi Princess married into other Middle Eastern Royal Families? I've always been curious abt. that

I know that you asking about a princess not a prince but I find this

prince abdalziz bin saud married from Al maktoom family the royal of dubai , no mention for the name of the princess ( his wife )
this pic for him with his older son .
Thanks. Awww what a cute little boy.
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i read the first book, sultana (as it is called in spanish), some years ago and an anecdote that stands in my mind when i think about the book is the one victoria mentioned of one of sultana's sisters or friends who was killed because of having a relation with a man before the wedding, by drowning her in the swimming pool. it's quite an interesting book after all, and appart from these kind of horrid scenes it is quite a good reflection of the lives of the rich and the royals in saudi arabia. it describes how life is for women (as well as men), rituals, what they do in their every day life... it is more than interesting and a must read for anyone interested in middle eastern royalty.

i wonder if what the book tells extends to other families in the middle east, such as kuwait, qatar, jordan or even morocco, as they are also quite large, muslim families...
Princess by Jean Sasson

hello, for those of you who have read this book, im just curious to know, are there any pictures of Sultana? because i googled this title, and i got to see many covers with pictures of a dark haired woman, is that jean sasson or sultana? ro does anyone know where i can see pictures of the people mentioned ni this book?
many thnaks
It is my understanding that models were used for the book covers. Sultana (if she even exists) would never have been photographed for the book. I enjoyed reading the trilogy, but you should probably keep in mind that it is widely believed to be a compilation of stories that Jean Sasson heard while in Saudia Arabia and not really the story of one person's life.
It is?! I have it on good authority that the books are in fact real.
I have no doubt that the people in the stories are real enough, but it is widely speculated in the literary community that Jean Sasson used the singular "Sultana" as a vehicle to combine all the true stories that she was told during her time in Saudi Arabia into one cohesive tale. "Sultana" could very well be a royal or someone connected to the royals that is sharing this information with Jean Sasson, but the books themselves are too neat of a read to be 100% true as stated. The odds of a princess personally encountering every sort of female shock story in the Arab world as well as having two daughters who are the complete embodiment of such stereotypical extremes are slim.

In Princess Sultana's Daughters, Jean even writes that, when confronted, Sultana convinces her family that she has altered certain facts to keep speculation away from her true identity. I think this was done more to lend additional confusion as to where Jean's sources actually came from. That being said, I don't doubt that the horrors that she writes about are true.
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