Shamsa, the Forgotten Princess

The abduction of a young woman from the streets of Cambridge is the origin-story of how Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai treats the women in his life

The reputation of Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai has been tarnished beyond repair by the way he treated his wife Haya and daughter Latifa. At least we know about what they went through. There’s another daughter – Shamsa – who was the first to try to escape the Sheikh’s clutches. She, and her story, have almost vanished.

The High Court recently found that Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, had deployed the full force of the state he runs to coerce and intimidate his ex-wife, all because she had dared to defy him and flee the UAE with her two young children. The ruling revealed just how ruthless the Sheikh could be – and revealed a pattern. Because, as part of the court battle, two previous cases were combed over: those of Princess Latifa and Princess Shamsa, two of the Sheikh’s daughters who have also tried to escape his control. Latifa’s story is well-known, in part because of her genius at publicising it. But Shamsa has been forgotten, a woman whose alleged abduction from a Cambridge street and subsequent imprisonment in Dubai has been conveniently forgotten over the last 21 years by the British authorities, as Sheikh Mohammed has been embraced by the Royals, and his billions in investment welcomed.