- Princess Haya Al Hussein initially believed to have sought asylum in Germany
- Unconfirmed Arab media reports suggest German diplomat helped her ‘escape’
- German authorities ‘have refused a request from husband to return her to Dubai’
- Reports come three months after disappearance of one of his daughters who was caught fleeing to America
The wife of Dubai’s billionaire ruler is believed to be in hiding in London after the break-up of her marriage, according to sources close to the family.
Princess Haya Al Hussein is said to be seeking a divorce after initially fleeing to Germany where she sought political asylum.
Unconfirmed reports in Arab media suggest a German diplomat helped her ‘escape’ from Dubai leading to a potential diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
It is claimed that German authorities have refused a request from her husband Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Maktoum to return his wife to Dubai.
Last year one of the Sheikh’s children, Princess Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, attempted to flee her father and Dubai for political asylum in America.
She has since disappeared, but is believed to have been returned to the United Arab Emirates where her father is the Prime Minister and Vice President.
German authorities have also refused to make any comment on the media reports and a spokesman for the Dubai ruler has also made no comment.
Two sources close to the Dubai royal family confirmed that Princess Haya has left the country and is seeking a divorce.
Oxford educated Princess Haya has not been seen in public since May 20 and her social media accounts, which are usually full of photos of her charitable work, have not been active since February.
The Princess was also a surprise absentee from last week’s Royal Ascot.
The 45-year-old accomplished horsewoman usually accompanies her husband during his annual visit to the sporting event.
Dubai’s ‘runaway princess’ who hasn’t been seen in months
Smiling for the camera, this selfie is the last known photo of Princess Sheikha Latifa, a daughter of Dubai’s billionaire ruler who attempted to escape the Arab state in March.
Living under a strict curfew and accompanied by minders any time she went outside her royal palace, Princess Latifa had even contacted a civil rights group to tell of her desperation to leave her father’s country.
Planning to start a new life in America where she would claim political asylum, the Princess drove out of Dubai to Oman, where she then sailed for India.
She was accompanied by friend Tiina Jauhiainen, also seen in the photo, and met former French spy Hervé Jaubert on his yacht Nostromo anchored in international waters.
But eight days after the 33-year-old posted the photo online she was seized from the yacht off the coast of India and forcibly returned to Dubai.
Jauhiainen and Jaubert were also taken back to Dubai and interrogated, but were released after MailOnline revealed Latifa’s capture.
Dubai officials have refused to make any comment on Latifa’s whereabouts despite pressure from human rights groups and the United Nations.
Speaking previously to civil rights group Detained in Dubai, the Princess revealed after a previous escape attempt as a teenager she was tortured and jailed for three years.
Latifa is one of 30 children the Sheikh has had with his six wives.
She will be the subject of a BBC documentary called Escape from Dubai – The Mystery of the Missing Princess which will be shown on BBC2 in December.
Both she and her husband had horses running in the Duke of Edinburgh stakes.
Sheikh Maktoum, 68, was photographed with his all male entourage and meeting with The Queen and Duke of Cambridge during Royal Ascot week but there was no sign of his wife.
A poem alleged to have been written by Maktoum and talking about ‘betrayal’ was posted on an Instagram account linked to the Dubai ruler.
In the poem the phrase ‘you cheated the most precious thing’ and ‘I gave you trust and space…the biggest mistake you did was to lie.’
There is no confirmation that Maktoum was responsible for the publication of the poem on social media.
Princess Haya is one of six wives to Dubai’s ruler, having married in 2004. She is often referred to as his ‘junior wife’ and is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan.
It is not known if her two young children are with her or back in Dubai.
Her half brother King Abdullah II is the current ruler of Jordan.
A report of her fleeing to Germany first surfaced on the website Eurabia.com.
Another site Emirates Leaks also reported the claim that Princess Haya had fled to Germany with her children Jalila, 11, and Zayed, aged seven. The US based site The Daily Beast claimed Haya is in hiding in London.
Many others also commented on the reports on Twitter, including controversial internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.
He wrote to his 700,000 followers: ‘There are unconfirmed reports that @hrhprincesshaya has fled Dubai to Germany with the help of a German diplomat. If true Haya can finally speak about what happened to Princess Latifa. Anyone who has any information please contact me via Twitter dm.’
The Princess Latifa mentioned is the 33-year-old daughter of Sheikh Maktoum who unsuccessfully tried to flee Dubai and start a new life last year.
Mail Online revealed how the Princess escaped from Dubai with the help of her best friend and a former French spy.
She made a series of videos to be released if her bid for freedom failed, describing how her life as a Princess in the Arab kingdom was a sham.
Latifa claimed she was not allowed to have a passport and not allowed out on her own and had previously been imprisoned for two years after a failed escape attempt in her teens.
After fleeing Dubai she was tracked down to a yacht on the Indian Ocean and forcibly returned to Dubai where friends claim she has been kept in a drugged state and not allowed out.
Dubai authorities refused to make any comment about her escape bid or claims of mistreatment.
But after her plight was raised in the United Nations and a campaign launched to secure her freedom former Irish Prime Minister Mary Robinson was invited to meet her by Princess Haya.
The Princess was then forced to defend Mrs Robinson after she came in for an avalanche of criticism from human rights groups over the staged meeting and calling Latifa a ‘troubled young woman.’
In an interview with Irish radio the Princess said she said the Latifa situation was an ‘extremely private matter’.
She said she asked Mrs Robinson to visit as she was a trusted friend and knew each other from their work with the United Nations.
Speaking about Latifa, the Princess said: ‘It is a private family matter and I do not want to go into it because for the protection of Latifa herself and to ensure that she’s not used by anyone else. She is a vulnerable young woman.’
The Princess is known for her charitable work and actively involved in many humanitarian projects. She is a UN Messenger of Peace and Goodwill Ambassador.
Radha Stirling from the pressure group Detained in Dubai said: We have received multiple reports regarding the story of Princess Haya, from sources close to the governments in Jordan, and the UAE; all of which indicate that she has sought political asylum in Germany.
‘We cannot comment on the veracity of these reports, but such an event would clearly represent a powerful indictment against the UAE and against Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid personally, as well as have potentially dramatic repercussions on the relationships between the countries involved.
‘Whenever someone applies for political asylum, obviously, it is because their lives are in danger, and because they have suffered severe abuses and violations of their human rights.
‘We already know that Princess Latifa, Sheikh Mohammed’s daughter, fled the UAE seeking asylum and alleging unspeakable abuse at the hands of her father.
‘Now, it seems, Princess Haya, Sheikh Mohammed’s wife, has also fled the country and sought refuge in Germany. Obviously, this raises serious questions as to what prompted her to flee, and why she felt unable to simply file for divorce and relocate herself and her children without fear of reprisal from the Ruler of Dubai.
‘She is, after all, a free adult woman, and the sister of the King of Jordan; yet apparently, she feels unsafe.
‘Princess Haya was put in a position late last year of helping Sheikh Mohammed gloss over international concerns about the well-being of Princess Latifa after her capture, and subsequent disappearance.
She met with Mary Robinson in an orchestrated photo op with a clearly dazed and listless Latifa, in a PR stunt that was widely criticised and damaged Haya’s standing in the human rights community.’