Every girl who fell into the Ottoman harem dreamed of getting rid of the “slave” stigma. The concubine wanted not only to get freedom, but also to become mistress, and in the future a valid sultan. For this, the slave was not enough to get on a halvet to the Sultan. The concubine was supposed to become pregnant and give birth to a healthy shekhzade. It is advisable that her son be the eldest heir. Only then did the slave receive her lucky ticket. But if the concubine gave birth to a girl, then she was “very unlucky.”
One concubine – one son
According to the rules of the Ottoman harem, every concubine who managed to get pregnant was no longer allowed to go on a halvet to the sultan. Now the main duty of the slave was to bear and give birth to a healthy heir. This was especially true for girls who gave birth to shekhzade. They received all privileges, became sultans, moved to separate chambers, they were bestowed with jewelry, fabrics and furs. Only such concubines lost the right to see the padishah.
The girl was estranged from the Sultan so that she did not waste time on love experiences, but was exclusively engaged in raising her son. Having become a sultana, she was obliged to grow a worthy shehzade.
They also tried to ensure that not one mother Shehzadeh gained the advantage and too much power.
The situation was different for the girls who gave birth to their first children daughters.
Advantage of mothers daughters
The concubine, who gave the sultan a daughter, received less privileges than the mother of shekhzade. Such a slave remained “Khatun”, that is, she did not receive the prefix “Sultan” in her name. Of course, she also received gifts from the Sultan, separate chambers. However, all her gifts were more modest.
Nevertheless, the concubines who gave birth to daughters had one advantage over the mothers of shekhzade. The rule “one concubine – one son” did not apply to them. Of course, the Valide Sultan tried to send new girls to her son. And all those who were already on a halvete or gave birth rarely walked the “golden path” twice. However, the girl’s mother could get a second chance. If she was lucky, then she became pregnant again and gave birth to the long-awaited shekhzade.
The fate of moms sultan
If you believe what is written in the Russian-language articles on Wikipedia, the mothers of the sultan received personal chambers and several servants. They also made up an individual menu of 15 dishes.
If the sultan for several years was not interested in the mother of his daughter, then the woman could be expelled from the harem and marry. The child remained with his father in a harem. The girl was brought up by the Valide Sultan or the main Haseki. But Khatun received a document of freedom and a good dowry.
Exception to the rule
Do not forget about love. If the concubine liked the sultan, then it did not matter who she gave birth to. The beloved woman appeared often in the chambers of the padishah, and no harem rule acted on this.
For example, Nigar-Khatun (the concubine of Sultan Bayazid II) first gave birth to a daughter, Fatma Sultan, but the Sultan did not lose his interest in this woman. And later she gave him another one or two children.
Another example is the Nurbanu Sultan. In 1544, the girl gave birth to shekhzade Selim daughter Shah, and then Gevherkhan and Esmekhan. Nurbanu already had three children, but all the girls. The girl understood that without a son she would not achieve anything. And in 1546 she managed to give birth to shehzade Murad.
Nurbanu is a prime example of the fact that it was not enough for the girls in the Ottoman harem to have a son. Something could happen to her shehzade at any moment. Only strong and ambitious concubines became sultans and achieved heights.