Princess Haya in UK High Court to Battle Dubai Ruler Over Kids Custody

Published November 12th, 2019 - 01:03 GMT
Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein of Jordan (L) arrives at Britain's High Court, The Royal Courts of Justice, in central London on November 12, 2019. Princess Haya, the estranged wife of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, has applied for a forced marriage protection order during a case about their children's welfare. Tolga AKMEN / AFP
Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein of Jordan (L) arrives at Britain's High Court, The Royal Courts of Justice, in central London on November 12, 2019. Princess Haya, the estranged wife of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, has applied for a forced marriage protection order during a case about their children's welfare. Tolga AKMEN / AFP
Highlights
It is being heard by the president of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, and is not related to any financial matters or a divorce, which could be worth up to £4.5billion.

Princess Haya has arrived at the High Court today where she is battling her estranged husband - the billionaire ruler of Dubai - over custody of their children and to prevent one being forced into an arranged marriage. 

The Jordan-born royal, 45, claims to have fled Dubai with their two children 'in fear of her life' after becoming estranged from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Today the estranged couple will battle over their children at the High Court in London in a full family division hearing and the case is expected to last until the end of the week - but the Sheikh stayed away again.

It is being heard by the president of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, and is not related to any financial matters or a divorce, which could be worth up to £4.5billion.

Sir Andrew has allowed the media to report that Princess Haya has applied for a non-molestation order - designed to help victims of domestic violence keep abusers away - and a forced marriage protection order in relation to the children. 


These can be made to protect a person from being forced into a marriage and could, for example, prevent someone being taken abroad for a wedding. The issue of custody will also be decided.

There was no sign of her billionaire husband for the hearing before the President of the Family Division - the third time he has failed to attend a hearing that will determine the fate of his two children. 

Sir Andrew rejected an application by Sheikh Mohammed's lawyers for those details to be subject to reporting restrictions.  

But there is a ban on reporting the names and ages of the children or most details of the proceedings being published. Even witnesses due to attend cannot be identified. 

Princess Haya and Sheikh Mohammed - who married in 2004 - had issued a statement confirming they are parties to proceedings before the court following an earlier private hearing before Sir Andrew.

The statement said: 'These proceedings are concerned with the welfare of the two children of their marriage and do not concern divorce or finances.'

Sheikh Mohammed, who turned 70 in July, is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.

He is also the founder of the successful Godolphin horse racing stable and received a trophy from the Queen after one of his horses won a race at Royal Ascot earlier this year.

Sheikh Mohammed has been represented at preliminary hearings by Lord Pannick QC, who acted for Gina Miller in the landmark Supreme Court case over the prorogation of Parliament, and Lady Helen Ward, a solicitor who represented director Guy Ritchie in his divorce from Madonna. 

Her legal team includes Baroness Fiona Shackleton, who represented the Prince of Wales during his divorce from Diana, and Sir Paul McCartney in his divorce from Heather Mills. 

Princess Haya wed the 70-year-old sheik, who is also vice-president of the UAE, in 2004 in what was believed to be his sixth marriage. He has more than 20 children by different wives.

Haya is the daughter of Jordan's late Queen Alia, a popular figure with Palestinian roots who died in a helicopter crash in 1977.

Sheik Mohammed, one of the world's richest men, has not attended court but has shared a number of poems on social media describing 'overcoming life's challenges'.

Haya smuggled their children out of Dubai earlier this year 'in fear of her life', according to the BBC's well-connected security correspondent Frank Gardner.

She reportedly took £31million with her and sought refuge in her £85million townhouse near Kensington Palace.

The estranged couple are both friends of the Queen. Their estimated £4.5billion divorce could be the costliest in British legal history.

Haya, who is fighting for custody of her two children, successfully requested they be made wards of the British court, meaning no major decisions can be made about their future without a family judge's permission.

A court order means further details of the case, including the ages and genders of the children, cannot be reported.

The hearing is listed to begin at noon.

This article has been adapted from its original source.    


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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