Princess Haya, the ex-wife of the ruler of Dubai, paid a British bodyguard £1.2 million and gave him gifts including a £50,000 Purdey shotgun, watches and cigars, it has been claimed.
The sixth wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum was said to have insisted that the former infantryman accompany her on official visits before giving him personalised number plates and luggage, a humidor and signet ring during their two-year relationship.
The affair is said to have led to the four-year marriage of bodyguard Russell Flowers ending in divorce with his wife being left “distraught”.
For the first time, friends of the former couple have spoken of the circumstances that allegedly led to the breakdown of the marriage.
The relationship between the Jordanian princess and the bodyguard emerged earlier this year during her High Court battle against her former husband, 71. In March, the princess, 46, won custody of their two children.
The friends say Mr Flowers, 37, had been “mesmerised” by the princess.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one said Mr Russell’s wife watched helplessly as he returned home with gifts, adding: “The princess used her vast wealth to lure him. He was a former soldier who suddenly found he was travelling in a billionaire’s private plane, complete with gold sinks. I think he was mesmerised by it all.
“She felt her husband was being targeted by the princess.”
The two-year affair was said to have led to Princess Haya fleeing Dubai with her children after her husband found out.
Representatives of the princess last night failed to respond to a request for comment.
Mr Flowers has consistently refused to comment about claims he had a relationship with Princess Haya.
Mr Flower's ex-wife last night refused to comment.