A princess battling the ruler of Dubai over the custody of their two children has been made a senior diplomat at the Jordanian embassy in London.
Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, 45, the sister of King Abdullah of Jordan, returned to the family division of the High Court yesterday for a preliminary hearing before a full hearing next month. Her husband, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, 70, had applied for the children to be returned to Dubai.
The appointment of Princess Haya as a first secretary was announced in the London diplomatic list published by the Foreign Office. A former Olympic equestrian, she became the sheikh’s sixth and youngest wife in 2004.
She fled to Britain in May with her children and has urged a British court to protect one of them by granting a forced marriage protection order.
Her estranged husband, who has an estate in Newmarket, Suffolk, had applied for the “summary return” of their children to the United Arab Emirates.
The princess, who was educated at Oxford University, claimed in July that she was in “fear of her life” and believed her husband would attempt to “render” her to Dubai after he posted a poem on Instagram — in Arabic and English accusing an unidentified woman of “treachery and betrayal”.
It has been suggested that the princess fled after her husband became “concerned at her apparent closeness to her British bodyguard”.
The princess sought a non-molestation order, a process normally used to protect someone who claims they have been subjected to domestic violence.
The couple’s children are living with their mother in her £85 million home in Kensington, west London.
Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the family division, is due to preside over a hearing scheduled for November 11 and expected to last for a week.
Sir Andrew has allowed the media to report that Princess Haya has applied for wardship of their children, as well as for a non-molestation order and a forced marriage protection order.
Such an order can be made to protect a person from being forced into a marriage or from any attempt to be forced into a marriage and could, for example, prevent someone being taken abroad.