Who is Princess Haya? Court proceedings begin for the 'junior wife' of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who is set to appear in court this week


Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, the wife of UAE ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has reportedly left Dubai for London, where she is said to be seeking asylum.

The royal, who is reportedly hiding out in her £85 million family home in Kensington Palace Gardens, is set to face her husband in a preliminary hearing at the Family Division of the High Court in London today and tomorrow.

Princess Haya and Sheikh Mohammed released a joint statement through the high court revealing what the case was about, which clarifies, “These proceedings are concerned with the welfare of the two children of their marriage and do not concern divorce or finances.”

Princess Haya with Sheikh Mohammed (Getty Images)

It continues that they would “deal with issues relating to how to proceed to a final hearing to determine the welfare issues”.

Princess Haya has reportedly hired Baroness Fiona Shackleton, a high profile divorce lawyer who represented Prince Charles in his 1996 split from Princess Diana as well as Paul McCartney in his split from Heather Mills in 2008.

Sheikh Mohammed has also reportedly hired another A-list divorce lawyer, appointing Helen Ward - who represented Guy Ritchie in his divorce from Madonna and Formula 1’s Bernie Eccleston from Slavica Ecclestone.

Following her departure, her husband Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktum shared an Arabic poem titled “You Lived and You Died” on Instagram.

In it, Sheikh Mohammed writes to an unnamed individual, “You betrayer, you betrayed the most precious trust, and your game has been revealed...You no longer have any place with me/ Go to who you have been busy with!/ And let this be good for you; I don’t care if you live or you die.”

The Daily Beast asked a translator if the poem was better or worse in Arabic, they told them, “It’s actually worse.”

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Friends of Princess Haya have since said that she moved from Dubai “in fear of her life”.

Who is Princess Haya?

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Princess Haya, whose full name is Princess Haya Bint Al-Hussein, is a wife of Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

While generally Sheikh Mohammed’s six wives are rarely seen in public, Princess Haya was a prominent figure prior to her marriage. She is the daughter of the late former King Hussein of Jordan. (Her mother Queen Alia was his third wife and died at a young age in a tragic helicopter accident.) Her half-brother King Abdullah is also the current reigning monarch of Jordan and she also has a twin.

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She married Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum in 2004 and the 45 year old is his sixth and “junior wife”. Princess Haya has close ties to Britain as she was educated at British boarding school Bryanston, finishing her studies at Oxford University.

The royal is renowned for her charity work as a UN Messenger of Peace and as the chairperson of the International Humanitarian City, with a special focus on alleviating poverty and hunger.

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She told Emirates Woman, “The fact that there are so many millions of desperate people in our world that have to face appalling choices for a variety of different reasons is a call to all of us to do our part.”

She also rides horses professionally and has competed on the world stage as a showjumper. In 1992, she won bronze at the Pan Arab Games and qualified for the Olympics in 2000. Prior to her disappearance, many of her photos and videos on her Instagram were of the horses in her life and one dated January 16 was a short clip of Princess Haya at practice. It was captioned, “Really enjoying being back jumping again…”

According to Horse Magazine, she was the “first Arab woman to qualify for and compete in an equestrian world championship”.

She is also known to be friendly with Queen Elizabeth and was frequently seen with her husband at Royal Ascot, as Sheikh Mohammed owns a prominent racing stable called Godolphin. When Princess Haya was not seen as Ascot this year, a few began speculating about her whereabouts.

Where did Princess Haya go to school?

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Princess Haya was educated in the UK from a young age, boarding at all-girls Badminton School at 11 years old in Dorset. She moved to the prestigious Bryanston boarding school and according to Emirates Women, she completed five A-Levels before moving onto Oxford University to read PPE.

She told Emirates Woman that her time in Oxford was instrumental, as she loved meeting “open minded people who were prepared to debate anything”. She continued, “[When you’re at university], you're at an age and in a place where things aren't held against you. You explore ideas without judgement in a way chat you really can't now, because the world is so politically correct.”

What is Princess Haya’s net worth?

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Sources close to the Princess said she had been “preparing to flee for months”, with an escape fund of £31 million to “start a new life”. According to The Times, Princess Haya reportedly bought the house she is alleged to be hiding in via another company connected with her for £85 million in 2017.

The home is a grade II listed building in Kensington Palace Gardens and previously, The Times reported that a planning application had been submitted to change “decorative acanthus balls on the gate piers with sculpted stone falcons”, as falcons are a significant Jordanian symbol.

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At the time, a spokesperson for Princess Haya said, “HRH Princess Haya is delighted to have a home in the heart of London for her occupation during her state and personal visits to the UK.”

Her husband Sheikh Mohammed is one of the richest men in the world with an estimated net worth of £9 million.

Beyond his children with Princess Haya, Sheikh Mohammed has 23 children in total from different wives.