Nergis Sultan, also known as Nergisşah Sultan, (1536 – 1592) was an Ottoman princess, as daughter of Şehzade Mustafa, the son of 10th Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and his wife Mahidevran Sultan.
Nergisşah was born in Manisa (West Anatolia) 1536, during the princedom of her father, Şehzade Mustafa, an immensely popular prince at that time. Her mother is undetermined, while some say that she was the daughter of Ayşe Hatun, the daughter of Mirza Aslanbek Bey, a Circassian nobleman others say that she was born to Nuricihan Hatun, daughter of Saadet I Giray, a Crimean Tatar princess who was her father's legal wife at that time.
In her first years, she grew in Manisa surrounded by her siblings and her father and her grandmother Mahidevran who paid attention to her education.
Then, the family moved to Amasya where Mustafa has been assigned to rule.
Her aunt Mihrimah Sultan, along with her mother Hürrem who was Ottoman Haseki Sultan and her husband Rüstem who was Ottoman Grand Vizier, made a strong alliance and became dominated power in divan and inner circle of palace. Unfortunately for Mustafa, this condition became great obstacle for him to access to the throne, although he supported by Janissaries.
Although there is no proof of Hürrem’s or Mihrimah’s direct involvement, Ottoman sources and foreign accounts indicate that it was widely believed that the three worked first to eliminate Mustafa so as ensure the throne to Hürrem’s son and Mihrimah’s full-brother, Bayezid. The rivalry ended in a loss for the Mustafa when he was executed by his own father’s command in 1553 during the campaign against Safavid Persia because of fear of rebellion. Although this stories not based on first-hand sources, this fear of Mustafa was not unreasonable. Had Mustafa ascended to the throne, all Hürrem’s sons (Selim, Bayezid, and Cihangir) would have likely been executed, according to the fratricide custom of the Ottoman dynasty, which required all brothers of the new sultan be executed to avoid feuds among imperial siblings.
Suleiman ordered that Mustafa be given state funeral in Istanbul. After a week lying in state at the Hagia Sophia, Mustafa was laid to rest in a large mausoleum in Bursa.
Mustafa’s execution caused unrest in Anatolia, especially in Amasya, Manisa and Konya because the people saw him as the next sultan and because of his generosity and braveness. After the death of the prince, the janissaries and Anatolian soldiers of Mustafa rebelled against the decision of Suleiman. The whole Ottoman Society found the execution unfair because they believed that the reason for the execution was due to political maneuverings of Hürrem Sultan and Rüstem Pasha.
After Mustafa’s death in 1553, she was sent to Bursa along with her mother and her grandmother Mahidevran where she remained until she was married by her grandmother to Damat Cenabi Ahmet Pasha, governor of Anatolia in 1555, when she moved to Ankara. Selim II in person took his brother Mustafa's family in charge, contrasting with his father on this matter.
Her other sister Mihrişah Sultan was married on 1 August 1562 to Damat Abdülkerim Pasha, the same day Suleiman celebrated the triple wedding of his heir Selim II's daughters Esmahan, Gevherhan and Şah to Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, Piyale Pasha and Hasan Agha respectively and the same day. She died at Bursa, having had issue, two sons, Sultanzade Mustafa and Sultanzade Mehmed. She was buried her father's tomb.
In popular culture
In the 2011–2014 TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl, she is portrayed by Alize Gördüm .