Dubai: Princess Haya, the estranged wife of the ruler of Dubai has asked an English court for a forced marriage protection order relating to their children and a non-molestation order after the breakdown of the marriage, news reports said.
Princess Haya of Jordan, 45, appeared in the family court division of the high court, central London, on Tuesday, for a preliminary hearing.
A forced marriage protection order aims to protect a person who has been or is being forced into marriage. Non-molestation orders can protect against violence or harassment by a partner, ex-partner or family member.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who did not appear at the hearing, is arguing for the return of the couple’s two children to Dubai. Princess Haya has applied for wardship of the children.
Before the breakdown of their marriage, Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya had been described as a perfect couple and often appeared together at international social events. Princess Haya, the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, is close to the British royal family and owns an £85m house near Kensington Palace. She married Sheikh Mohammed in 2004 and is his sixth wife.
Sheikh Mohammed, 70, is vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates as well as ruler of Dubai.
The princess was educated at private schools in the UK and studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University. She has served on the International Olympic Committee and has been a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations world food programme.
The Emirati royal family has already been subjected to unwelcome publicity over the case of Princess Latifa, Sheikh Mohammed’s daughter. She allegedly escaped Dubai and was seized by commandos off the coast of India and returned to her home.
Princess Haya married Sheikh Mohammed in 2004, becoming his sixth and “junior” wife. The 70-year-old sheikh, reportedly has 23 children by different wives.
Princess Haya initially fled to Germany to try to seek asylum there, but it emerged this month that she was living in central London.
After she fled, Sheikh Mohammed wrote an angry poem accusing an unnamed woman of betrayal and treachery, and posted it on his Instagram page.
Sources close to the princess said earlier this month she had recently discovered disturbing facts about the mysterious return to Dubai last year of Sheikha Latifa, one of Sheikh Mohammed’s daughters.
Sheikha Latifa had escaped the UAE by sea with the help of a Frenchman, but was intercepted by armed men off the coast of India. She was then returned to Dubai.