BEIRUT, Lebanon — Few world leaders are known to write poetry. Fewer still offer it up for public consumption. And almost none record their marital breakups in verse on their personal websites.
Then there is the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who has been publishing his romantic anguish online, in Arabic and English, for anyone with an internet connection to read.
“O sweetheart, there’s nothing more to say. / Your deathly silence has worn me out,” he wrote in one poem posted on his official website. “You no longer have a place with me,” says another. “I don’t care if you live or die.”
Princess Haya, the most visible and glamorous of the sheikh’s reported six wives, has left him.
She fled with their 11- and 7-year-old children to London several months ago, a person close to the royal family said, making her at least the third woman to flee Sheikh Mohammed’s palaces in Dubai, the largest city of the United Arab Emirates.
Princess Haya, 45, is seeking political asylum in Britain and is asking for a divorce, said the person, who asked not to be identified speaking about a sensitive family matter.
Her defection follows attempts by two of Sheikh Mohammed’s daughters, Sheikha Shamsa al-Maktoum and Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum. They were recaptured by Emirati forces and are said by advocates to be held in Dubai against their will.
Princess Haya has been criticized for her role in helping to, in the words of critics, whitewash the disappearance of Sheikha Latifa, by inviting her friend, the former Irish president Mary Robinson, to visit Dubai and testify to Sheikha Latifa’s well being.
Princess Haya has not been seen recently or spoken publicly about her departure, and the sheikh’s poems do not identify the subject by name. The governments of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates did not respond to requests for comment.
Princess Haya’s biography is wel