Princess Haya Bint al Hussein, the sixth wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the billionaire ruler of Dubai, is said to be seeking refuge in London after reportedly leaving her husband and fleeing Dubai. She is thought to be living with the couple’s two children in a mansion near Kensington Palace worth about $107 million.
According to the BBC, Princess Haya, who is the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan, is said to be “afraid for her life.” A person close to the royal family told the New York Times that she arrived London months ago, and is seeking political asylum while asking for a divorce. A legal battle between the couple is now underway in the London courts regarding divorce and the custody of the couple’s two children.
Sheikh Mohammed, 69, is a billionaire and racehorse owner that was seen speaking to the Queen at Royal Ascot, Britain’s most famous annual horse-racing event in June. Princess Haya failed to appear at this year’s event.
The couple married in 2004, with Princess Haya then becoming the sheikh’s sixth and youngest wife.
Princess Haya is thought to have sought refuge in Germany first. However it is thought she would prefer to stay in the UK, where she went to school and studied at the University of Oxford. She is also close to the British royal family.
While the reasons for Princess Haya’s move are as yet unclear, Sheikh Mohammed, who enjoys writing poetry, has seemingly been sharing his emotions online. In a recent post on Instagram, he accused an unnamed woman of treachery and betrayal.
Under Islamic law in the UAE, men can easily divorce their wives — but women must go through a long legal process. It is likely to be complicated in the UK due to it being a polygamous marriage, and will put the UK in a difficult position, considering its longstanding alliances with the UAE.
Sheikh Mohammed reportedly made an application to divorce his wife and claim custody