Richard Spencer and David Brown
July 5, 2019, The Times
A Middle Eastern princess fled to London after her billionaire husband became concerned at her apparent closeness to her British bodyguard, it was claimed yesterday.
Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, 45, is involved in legal action in London with her husband, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, 69, the ruler of Dubai.
Friends said that she left the palace “in fear of her life” and now believed that her husband would try to have her “rendered” back to Dubai after he posted a poem on Instagram accusing an unnamed woman of treachery and betrayal.
The sheikh had become increasingly disturbed by what he saw as her closeness to the former British army officer, who provided security for the family, according to sources in the Middle East.
In an Arabic poem on an Instagram account affiliated with the sheikh last week, he wrote: “You betrayer, you betrayed the most precious trust, and your game has been revealed.”
Princess Haya, one of the sheikh’s six wives, lavished gifts on the married bodyguard who accompanied the Dubai royal family on trips around the world, the sources said. The emirate’s royals are renowned for their generosity. Senior members of the royal court had become concerned at what they perceived as “inappropriate intimacy” between the princess and the officer, which breached strict Emirati protocol.
The officer worked for UK Mission Enterprise Limited, a London-based security and concierge company owned by the Dubai government which provides round-the-clock services for the royal family. The company’s latest accounts show a turnover of £5 million; it received £45 million for acting as an agent for the government. Princess Haya, the Oxford-educated daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, is in hiding at her £85 million mansion close to Kensington Palace in west London. The princess, the close protection officer and UK Mission Enterprises did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the UAE has said that it will not comment on allegations about private lives.
Princess Haya, a half-sister of King Abdullah of Jordan, is expected to appear at the family court in London this month. Her friends claimed this week that she had also discovered “disturbing facts” about Princess Latifa, 33, one of her stepdaughters, who was seized on a yacht off India while allegedly attempting to escape Dubai in March last year. Princess Haya had arranged for her friend Mary Robinson, a former Irish president and United Nations high commissioner for human rights, to visit Dubai in December last year to defend its reputation over the alleged abduction.
Princess Haya became the sheikh’s sixth and “junior” wife in 2004. She told Emirates Woman magazine in 2016: “Every single day I thank God that I am lucky enough to be close to him.”
Concerns about the bodyguard first emerged this year and the princess was absent from Royal Ascot last month. Sources in Dubai have claimed that she had been preparing to flee for months and had left the country with £31 million to start a new life.
Even apparently innocuous physical contact can breach Dubai’s strict laws on behaviour in public. Jamie Harron, 27, from Stirling, was arrested for public indecency in 2017 after accidentally touching a man’s hip in a crowded bar. In 2010 Ayman Najafi, 24, from London, and Charlotte Adams, 25, from Essex, were jailed after he gave her a “peck on the cheek” when they visited a restaurant with a group of friends.