So who is Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein and why has she left Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum? Here’s the latest.
Why did Princess Haya bint al Hussein flee Dubai?
Princess Haya Bint al Hussein, the wife of Dubai’s ruler, spent months planning her escape to London after she discovered her husband had lied about imprisoning and torturing his eldest daughter, Princess Latifa.
Sources in the Middle East also claim that Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, 69, had also become increasingly disturbed by his wife’s closeness to her bodyguard.
On an Instagram account associated with the sheik, the Dubai royal wrote in Arabic: “You betrayer, you betrayer the most precious trust, and your game has been revealed.”
The 45-year-old Princess – one of the Sheikh’s six wives – is said to have started planning her escape at the beginning of the year and eventually fled to Germany in May before moving on to Britain.
Haya is thought to have been told his daughter Princess Letifa, 33, from another marriage, had been the victim of an extortion plot and needed rescuing but it is said she was trying to escape and begin a new life in the US.
Princess Haya is now thought to be in hiding in the UK with the couple’s two children, aged 11 and seven, and preparing for a multi-million divorce battle as well as a fight over custody with her 68-year-old billionaire husband.
She is said to be in her £85million home in Kensington, West London.
Maktoum has launched legal action against Haya in the Family Division of the High Court and a hearing has been set for July 30.
Where is Princess Latifa now?
Princess Latifa tried to escape from Dubai on a yacht last year but was captured by special forces and is said to be currently in jail.
The source said that Haya had initially believed her husband but added she discovered the claims about being tortured and imprisoned were true as well as being forcibly returned to Dubai.
Activist Tiina Jauhiainen said: “We would urge Princess Haya to use her global power and influence to help free Latifa, who is and suffering because of her own father’s treatment of her,” she added.
“She may be a princess, but this is about freedom and equality. Equality, dignity and the right of self-determination for millions of women across the Middle East is at stake.”
What is Princess Haya’s background?
Princess Haya is the sixth wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai.
The 45-year-old is the younger half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan.
She was educated at Oxford University, and represented Jordan at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, in showjumping.
According to her official website, “sport has been a dominant part of life for Princess Haya since childhood.
“Having experienced the power of sport in her own life, she works tirelessly to give others, especially young girls, a similar experience.”
Showjumping remains a strong passion, with the royal being a former president of the International Equestrian Federation, and a member of the International Olympic Committee.
Her website explains that she has “been motivated by the belief that sport improves lives, empowers women and breaks down barriers between people and nations”.
Apart from being involved in humanitarian work, Princess Haya is also the vice-president of the Royal Windsor Horse Show and, up until recently, was regularly photographed at this and other major events on the racing calendar.
In an interview with Emirates Woman three years ago, Princess Haya said that she “always wanted to be a journalist” as she’s “passionate about newspapers and magazines”.
She spoke glowingly about her two children, daughter Sheikha Al Jalila, and son Sheikh Zayed, who apparently “loves the desert” and “everything that papa does”.