Ashley McCready, The TImes
May 29, 2021
Two British women who published photographs of nights out with a missing Dubai princess were ordered to do so, a source close to her has claimed, raising fresh fears for the 35-year-old’s health.
Princess Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, daughter of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed, claimed in videos leaked to the media in February that she was being held in solitary confinement against her will in a villa after a foiled attempt to escape the emirate.
The United Arab Emirates has since come under pressure from the United Nations to show that she is still alive.
The princess was then shown last week in three photographs on social media with women, apparently her friends, at locations in Dubai including a restaurant, Bice Mare.
The women have been identified as Sioned Taylor, a teacher and former Royal Navy sailor from Liverpool, Lynda Bouchikhi, a French-Algerian events manager, and Fiona Day, a psychic medium who is said to be a former British police officer.
Sources close to Latifa say they knew she was acquainted with the women, some or all of whom had previously worked for the Dubai royal family, before her attempt to flee in 2018.
One, who asked not to be named, said it was clear the women had “no choice” but to post the photos. “They have been ordered to take those photos and not to talk about it,” he said.
Taylor and Bouchikhi, who both published the first photo at Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates on Instagram, were former “chaperones” for Latifa, the source said. Taylor, who also published a second photo, was now “more of a friend” to the princess.
The source said Day was “an acquaintance”, who later published a third picture on Facebook of herself with Latifa at a restaurant.
The source said he had been told that Taylor was blackmailed into posting the photo and “threatened” with a jail sentence in Dubai.
The source has been told that Latifa is now living in a mansion with her mother.
Requests to speak to Taylor and Day went unanswered.
The Dubai Media Office and the UAE embassy in London declined to comment.