Politically, Ismail found he had to steer a careful course. He persuaded the Sublime Porte to grant him a new title and the automatic right of succession through eldest sons, and saw this, with some justice, as recognition that he was now to all intents an independent sovereign. The Turks reluctantly dredged up an old Persian title, ‘khedive’, whose exact meaning was apparent to no one, but which seemed to be an assertion of regal authority. On the other hand, Ismail had good reason to be alarmed at the development of the powers of the Suez Canal Company, which acted, at least towards European settlers in the canal zone, as an autonomous government. The erosion of Egyptian control over the canal was already under way.
I always found “khedive” a confusing title, and now I see it was meant to be. (The etymology, from the American Heritage Dictionary: French khédive, from Turkish hidiv, from Persian khidēw, lord, from Middle Persian khwadāy, from Old Iranian khvadāta-.)