LONDON: The ruler of Dubai and his estranged wife are set to fight a court battle in London over the welfare of their children.
Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum’s wife, Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, is the third female member of his court to run away from the United Arab Emirates.
This month she was reported to be in hiding in London in fear for her life.
The UK court case centres on their children, with whom she fled.
Princess Haya asked the High Court on Tuesday for the wardship of her children, as well as a forced marriage protection order and a non-molestation order.
The first order protects people who are in forced marriages, while a person can apply for the second-order if they are a victim of domestic violence.
The princess, who was born in Jordan and educated at private schools in Britain, is an Olympic equestrian and the half-sister of the current Jordanian ruler, King Abdullah II.
She married Sheikh Mohammed in 2004, becoming his sixth and “junior” wife. The 70-year-old sheikh, who is the billionaire owner of Godolphin horse racing stables, reportedly has 23 children by different wives.
Princess Haya initially fled to Germany to try and seek asylum there, but it emerged this month that she was living in central London.
It’s believed that Princess Haya will want to stay in the UK. However, if her husband demands her return to Dubai, this could cause a diplomatic headache for Britain – which has close ties to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
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 that 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.