The only daughter of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent from Hurrem Sultan, she was born around 1522. Suleyman adored his daughter, and complained with her every wish. Mihrimah Sultan was well educated. She married Rustem Pasha, Governor of Diyarbakir, who was shortly afterwards appointed as Grand Vizier thanks to these close ties with the royalty. According to the Ottoman historians, Hurrem, Mihrimah and Rustem Pasha conspired to bring about the death of Sehzade (prince) Mustafa, who stood in the way of Mihrimah Sultan's influence over her father. Indeed her letters and other sources demonstrate that she took over her mother's tomb in Suleymaniye mosque in the capital Istanbul.
The fact that Mihrimah encouraged her father to launch the campaign against Malta, promising to build 400 galleys at her own expense; that like her mother she wrote letters to the King of Poland; and that on her father's death she lent 50.000 gold sovereigns to Sultan Selim to meet his immediate needs, illustrate the political power which she wielded. She possessed a vast fortune, and the complex which master architect Sinan built for her on the waterfront at Uskudar (Scutari) between 1540-48 is one of Istanbul's foremost monuments and is a reflection of her charitable personality. The complex originally consisted of a mosque, medresse (theological school), primary school, mental hospital, and imaret, but the latter two buildings are not standing today. Mihrimah Sultan also had a palace built for herself near the complex in Uskudar. Another mosque built for Mihrimah Sultan again by architect Sinan at Edirnekapi district of Istanbul represents the culmination of Ottoman single-domed mosques. With its abundant windows and graceful decoration, this mosque is reminiscent of a palace or kiosk (pavilion). A fountain, medresse and hammam (Turkish Bath) complete this mosque's complex. Another of Mihrimah's social works was for repairs to the Ayn Zubayda water system at Mecca, its extension into the city, and the construction of cisterns and reservoirs. Her power and influence make Mihrimah Sultan the most famous and powerful of all Ottoman princesses.