It’s the afternoon of April 7,1789. White-bright sunlight reflects off the waters of the Golden Horn painting them silver. The roses of the big rose bush, wilted from the heat, look as if they’re asleep. Sultan Mustapha III’s widow Mihrişah Sultana is lying down on the velvet sofa in the shade of an ornate canopy to while away the hours of this remarkable day. The blond odalisque is tirelessly fanning the Sultana with a peacock-feather fan. Tree branches, dressed in the early buds of spring, veil the püre blue of the cloudless sky like elegant lace.
Suddenly a repeatedly explosive cannonade shakes the entrire city of Istanbul.The shots are heralding the accession of her son Sultan Selim III to the throne of the Ottoman Empire. A eunuch comes running excitedly and says: “My most worthy mistress, you are now a Valide Sultana, “ The Mother of the Sultan!” Mihrişah lets out a sigh. Her most fervent wish has finally come true after fifteen long years of waiting.
The Sultana, who is still strikingly beautiful at forty five,is returning to Topkapi Palace with the traditional retinue of a “ Valide Her gilded coach, drawn by six white horses is saluted by the jamissaries on Divanyolu as gold coins are distributed to the poor. Inside the Gate of Happiness, the new monarch greets his mother by bending to the ground three times and then kisses her band.
Mihrişah Sultana founded many public buildings in Eyüp at her own expense,including an alms house, a school, a library, a fountain and a mausoleum,all bearing her name. She also built many fountains wherever in Istanbul they were needed.