Murat spent his time having fun in the harem lucky boy…..

As was now customary, as soon as he had been declared sultan, Murat had his five surviving younger brothers strangled to prevent claims on his throne.  The next day he buried his father Selim in the garden of Aya Sofia and had Sinan (still very much in command of imperial architecture) build a tomb over the grave.  In due course the five young murdered princes joined their father in the splendid new tomb.

Murat was 29 and had already served as provincial governor for 16 years: three in Aksehir and thirteen in Manisa.  Murat lost no time in setting new building tasks for Sinan, and the latter created a new Imperial Hall and the Salon of Murat III in Topkapi Palace.  Murat’s favourite place was the harem.  When he became sultan he had been faithfully to one woman, Safiye, for some years but, after the death of his mother, Nurbanu, in late 1583, he began to buy female slaves and entered a period of intense promiscuity.  Harem records note that he had 24 sons and 32 daughters which is a record for the Ottoman dynasty, with over fifty of them born during the last twelve years of his life.

Whilst Murat spent his time having fun in the harem, Safiye took over Nurbanu’s role of ‘first woman’ and maintained an extensive foreign correspondence, even writing to Queen Elizabeth I in England following diplomatic exchanges leading to the establishment of the Levant Company.

Murat hardly left the Palace during his last years and died aged 49 in January 1595.  Safiye kept his death a secret until her son Mehmet could return to Istanbul from Manisa where he was provincial governor.  However, this time the secret leaked out of the Palace and Mehmet arrived in the nick of time to take up his throne.

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