Dubai ruler and his wife begin legal battle in London

Middle Eastern royals had previously been in the spotlight over fate of Princess Latifa

 Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum  at the Epsom Derby in June 2017, in Epsom, England. Photograph: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum at the Epsom Derby in June 2017, in Epsom, England. Photograph: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

 

A legal battle between two of the most prominent Middle Eastern royals has been launched in London. Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, and her husband, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, are understood to have parted. They are now engaged in a formal dispute in the high court.

The Emirati royal family was last year in the spotlight over the case of Princess Latifa, Sheikh Mohammed’s daughter, who allegedly escaped Dubai and was subsequently seized off the coast of India by commandos and forcibly returned to her home.

Emirati authorities dismissed the allegations over Princess Latifa’s treatment and abduction at the time as fiction, saying that she was “vulnerable to exploitation” and had been kidnapped.

Former Irish president Mary Robinson was drawn into the controversy when she went to Dubai at the request of Princess Haya. Ms Robinson was photographed with Princess Latifa, who she described as a “troubled” and “vulnerable” young woman who was getting medical attention from her family.

Photo taken on December 15th, 2018, showing Princess Latifa and Mary Robinson in Dubai, UAE. Photograph: United Arab Emirates ministry of foreign affairs and international co-operation via AP
Photo taken on December 15th, 2018, showing Princess Latifa and Mary Robinson in Dubai, UAE. Photograph: United Arab Emirates ministry of foreign affairs and international co-operation via AP

Princess Haya is close to the British royal family and owns an £85 million (about €95 million) house near Kensington Palace. Unusually, she has not been seen at Ascot this summer despite being a keen equestrian and regular racegoer. She is believed to be in the UK.

She married the billionaire Sheikh Mohammed in 2004 and is his sixth wife.

Princess Haya was educated at private schools in the UK and studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University. She has served on the International Olympic Committee and has been a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme. – Guardian/Agencies