Dubai royal divorce begins

David Brown, The Times
October 27, 2021

The biggest divorce case in British legal history began yesterday as a Jordanian princess arrived at court to demand a share of the fortune of the ruler of Dubai. Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, 47, is seeking a settlement following the collapse of her marriage to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, 72.

A ten-day hearing at the High Court before Mr Justice Moor will decide the payout for the princess and their two young children.

Details of the hearing, conducted in front of journalists, remain secret at this stage but experts predicted before it started that the settlement could surpass the record £450 million awarded in 2017 to Tatiana Akhmedova, the former wife of the Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov. That award was reduced to £150 million in July.

The princess was represented by the Conservative peer Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, whose divorce clients have included Prince Charles.

A senior judge ruled last month that Sheikh Mohammed was implicated in hacking the mobile telephones of the princess, her lawyers, including Shackleton, and security staff. The sheikh rejected the judge’s findings.

Haya, the youngest of Sheikh Mohammed’s six wives, fled to London with their children in 2019 after he became concerned about her relationship with her British bodyguard.