- Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein plotted her escape with their children for months
- She was told her husband had lied about treatment of his daughter Latifa
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum is taking his estranged wife to court
- He is battling Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein in London for custody of their two children
- Move confirms that the couple have separated as High Court date has been set
- She is believed to have moved into an £85million town house in Kensington
The youngest wife of Dubai’s ruler spent months meticulously plotting her escape to London after being told her husband lied to her about imprisoning and torturing his elder daughter, MailOnline can reveal.
Friends told MailOnline Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein fled Dubai after hearing about how Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum had apparently treated his daughter Princess Latifa.
Haya was told by her husband that Latifa was the victim of an extortion plot and had to be rescued and brought back to Dubai when in fact she was trying to escape to start a new life in the US.
Princess Haya, 45, is now believed to be in hiding in Britain with the couple’s two children and is set for a multi-million divorce and bitter child custody battle with her 69-year-old billionaire racehorse owner husband.
A family source said: ‘Princess Haya finally learned the truth about what her husband did to his own daughter and feared the same could happen to her.
‘She went along with what was said after Latifa escaped last year but found out for herself what she had endured and asked herself, what kind of man puts his own daughter in prison?’
Latifa, 33, fled Dubai on a yacht last year but was caught by special forces and is currently imprisoned in the Gulf state.
She made a series of videos before her capture saying her life was a sham and claiming she had been tortured and spent two years in prison after a previous escape attempt as a teenager failed.
The family source said it was Princess Haya’s realisation that her husband was able to imprison his own child – and her subsequent fears for her own two children – that triggered her decision to leave.
Haya is understood to have spent several months planning her escape and is now believed to be at her £85m home in Kensington, West London, while she awaits a court hearing later this month.
The source told MailOnline that Princess Haya – who is one of Maktoum’s six wives – had initially believed her husband’s claim that Latifa was the victim of an extortion plot.
Haya had asked friend and former Irish president Mary Robinson to visit Dubai and meet Latifa in a staged managed setting last December – a move that created international outrage and severe criticism of Mrs Robinson.
After giving a radio interview in January defending Mrs Robinson’s intervention, Haya began asking ‘awkward’ questions about Latifa, her early life and her recent return to Dubai.
Friends said to her horror Haya found out the torture and imprisonment claims by her step daughter were true, as was the claim she was forcibly returned to Dubai.
The family friend said: ‘You have to understand that Princess Haya would have had almost nothing to do with Latifa. They were from separate families and might only have met on the odd occasion and lived in different palaces and had separate friends.
‘Matters came to a head after the visit by Mrs Robinson. After all the criticism she started asking questions, not only about Latifa’s return to Dubai, but about how she was treated when she was younger.
‘The Princess is an intelligent woman and would have realised that her husband’s people were covering up the truth of what happened.
‘She must have feared something similar could happen to her or her children and decided to leave.’
After planning her departure at the beginning of the year, Princess Haya is understood to have fled Dubai in early May, travelled to Germany and then on to Britain.
The Princess recently moved into the £85million townhouse which she bought from Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal in 2017.
The property is located on one of London’s most exclusive streets and is a short distance from Kensington Palace.
Maktoum has launched an unprecedented legal action against Haya in the Family Division of the High Court.
A hearing has been set for July 30 when lawyers for the Sheikh will argue that his children belong with him in Dubai.
The court action confirms reports that Princess Haya has left her husband with their two young children and fled abroad.
Under the Hague Convention different countries agree to return a child that is suspected of being abducted.
It is believed documents were filed in a Dubai court and the case transferred to the High Court in London.
The court date means that Haya intends to contest the demand by her husband to return the children.
Sheikh Mohammed is yet to comment.