It is April 1839. The gentle sun of early spring weaves a lacy green mantle on the lawn of Çırağan Palace. The leafy branches of the honeysuckle vine are climbing on the iron trellis as the intoxicating perfume of its delicate flowers is carried by the breeze to enchant Gülcemal Sultana. Crimson geraniums and yellow bleeding hearts decorate the fringes of the garden.
Gülcemal, in her gold – embroidered dress, red-satin baggy trousers and pearly scarf is awed by the soul-stirring sight of the purple- flowered Judas trees. She is the most precious flower of this garden, lush brown hair framing her comely face accenting the brightness of her dark eyes. Of Caucasian birth, her skin is white and smooth, her face is like a rose, which is why they named her Gülcemal (“rose-face.”).
This tall and graceful woman is married to the handsome Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid. She bends down to pluck the most perfect violet of the garden. She has been melancholy for many days. Her sadness is overwhelming. She has not been with her husband for the longest time. She desperately wishes to be with him and assure him that she loves only him. She murmurs to herself: “How can I share my feelings with you, my Sultan, if I never see you..” Then she shrugs off her anxiety with a smile. She is convinced that there is a happy ending to every twist of fate. Soon he will come to her. Soon her longing will be over and she will lie with him on silk sheets once again.