The estranged wife of Dubai’s ruler, who dramatically fled her sheikh husband last month, surfaced in the UK, ready to engage in what will certainly be a nasty legal battle to retain custody of the couple’s two small children.
Princess Haya, 45, the sixth wife of billionaire Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, 70, fled Dubai in late June with her seven-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, along with $31 million dollars.
In addition to custody of her children, the princess is asking the court for a forced marriage protection order and a non-molestation order for herself.
The princess made an appearance in the central London court, however, her husband was not present. Although the court has ordered details of the proceedings to be kept under tight wraps, what is known is that the sheikh has asked for his children to be returned to Dubai.
The details of the protection order requested by the princess have not been made public. As reported by CNN, “A forced marriage protection order can be made under English law to protect a person from being forced into a marriage or help someone already in forced marriage, for example by preventing the person from being taken abroad.”
Two other members of Sheikh Mohammed’s family – two daughters from a different wife — have also tried to escape him, making international headlines as well.
The sheikh’s daughter, Sheikha Latifa, made headlines in April of 2018 when she fled Dubai via a yacht in order to escape what she described as “years of torture and imprisonment by her father.” Her yacht was intercepted and she was dragged back home.
In January of 2019, the Dubai ruler turned his UK estate into what neighbors described as a “prison camp,” installing a high fence in addition to the security measures that were already in place at the estate (guards, CCTV cameras and layered fences).
In 2000 incident, another daughter of the ruler, Sheikha Shamsa (Princess Latifa’s younger sister) escaped the estate. Latifa stated that since then, Shamsa “was being kept in a drugged state. … in Dubai and was ‘like a zombie.’”
Princess Haya is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and the half-sister of Jordan’s current king, Abdullah II of Jordan. She is close friends with Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, and his wife Camilla.
The princess attended Oxford University in the UK, where she studied politics, philosophy and economics. She represented Jordan in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney in equestrian show jumping.
Sheikh Mohammed is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Dubai. Since Princess Haya fled Dubai, the sheikh has accused her of betraying their marriage with her British bodyguard and has taken to social media in poetry and prose, condemning her flight and “disowning” her.