The youngest wife of Dubai’s ruler yesterday begged a British court to protect one of her children from being forced into an arranged marriage.
Princess Haya, who fled the Gulf state with her two children to hide in London ‘in fear of her life’, has also asked for a protection order used in domestic violence cases.
Her husband Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, one of the world’s richest men, has demanded the ‘summary return’ of his children to the United Arab Emirates.
The 45-year-old princess – his sixth wife – was seen for the first time in months as she entered London’s Royal Courts of Justice.
Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, pictured at the High Court today, has applied for wardship of her children and a forced marriage protection order to prevent them from being taken abroad by her husband and ruler of Dubai
The Princess, pictured with lawyer Fiona Shackleton leaving court, is in the early stages of a divorce with her husband that could be worth £4.5billion
Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum and estranged wife Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, pictured together at Royal Ascot in 2013, have begun a High Court battle in the UK over their children ahead of their divorce
Princess Haya, right, fled Dubai in June with her two children by the Sheikh and legal experts predict they could battle for £4.5billion in a divorce, although today’s court hearing relates only to their children’s welfare
Reporters who were based outside of England and Wales were prevented from attending the hearing (Princess Haya pictured leaving today)
The Princess (above with her husband in 2013) has applied for a ‘forced marriage protection order’
Wearing an ivory dress, diamond-studded earrings and clutching a designer handbag, she was joined by Baroness Shackleton, the specialist divorce lawyer dubbed the ‘Steel Magnolia’ who handled Prince Charles’s split from Princess Diana and the Paul McCartney-Heather Mills divorce.
The family court heard that Princess Haya has applied under UK law for a ‘forced marriage protection order’ for one of her children.
This is designed to protect someone who may be at risk of ‘being threatened with a forced marriage’, to stop them being taken out of the UK, according to the Government’s website.
Princess Haya, pictured today, is thought to want to stay in the UK but her husband could demand her return
Princess Haya (pictured today) is the daughter of the former King Hussein of Jordan
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, right, pictured with her legal team including lawyer Fiona Shackleton, centre, has arrived at the High Court in London today for a hearing over her children
The Princess recently moved into an £85million townhouse, pictured, which she bought from Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal in 2017
A poem alleged to have been written by Sheikh Mohammed and talking about ‘betrayal’ was posted on an Instagram account linked to the Dubai ruler
The Princess (right) had previously met the Duchess of Cornwall (left) in Dubai. The High Court today heard that the Princess was applying for a forced marriage protection order
The Oxford-educated princess has also asked for a ‘non-molestation order’, designed to help victims of domestic violence.
There were extraordinary scenes at the High Court as private bodyguards prowled outside oak-panelled Court 33 as the Dubai royal family’s secrets were dissected by some of the UK’s highest-paid lawyers.
How physical threats and emotional blackmail are used to force people to marry
Forced marriage is defined as when a person faces physical or emotional and psychological pressure to marry someone.
This can range from threats of violence to being told you are ‘shaming your family’ by opposing a union.
It was made a specific offence in England and Wales in 2014 and the law extends to prohibit victims being taken abroad to marry.
Those who lack the mental capacity to agree to marriage are also protected.
If authorities believe a person may be at risk of forced marriage they can issue protection orders that carry a maximum sentence of five years if violated.
An offender who forces someone to marry against their will can be jailed for up to seven years.
Forced marriage protection orders contain legally binding conditions that govern a person’s behaviour to stop them forcing someone into marriage.
They can be granted in an emergency to give immediate protection, which prohibits that person being involved in a wedding.
The sheik, who owns racing stables in Newmarket, was not present but the 70-year-old ruler instructed three top-flight QCs to fight his corner, along with solicitor Helen Ward, who in 2009 protected Bernie Ecclestone’s £2billion fortune from his ex-wife Slavica.
Princess Haya, the half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan, sat in the front row listening intently as the fate of her children unfolded.
She smuggled them 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 battle between the parents is still at an early stage, and all the applications have yet to be heard or decided.
The family court will hear arguments later this year before deciding what should happen to the children.
The divorce proceedings have not even started yet.
Family courts are said to argue what will happen to the couple’s children. The Princess with her husband in 2018 (left) and at an event in London (right)
The Princess (pictured above) reportedly took £31million with her and sought refuge in her £85million townhouse near Kensington Palace
Leaving court in London today, Princess Haya (left and right) was spotted wearing a white dress with nude shoes
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum is pictured here receiving a trophy from The Queen after one of his horses won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June 22, with his wife noticeably absent after previously frequenting the event with him
Sources claim Princess Haya fled after learning ‘disturbing facts’ about the Sheikh’s treatment of his daughter Latifa, 33, pictured, who campaigners say is being ‘held prisoner’ in Dubai after a failed escape attempt
It was previously reported that Haya fled Dubai in May after what happened to her husband’s daughter Princess Latifa, 33.
One of his 23 children by different wives, Latifa left last year to make a new life in the US, but was intercepted by special forces and forced to return.
The BBC’s security correspondent said Haya fears she may be abducted herself and ‘rendered’ back to Dubai.
The sheik, who is also the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, has not made any public comment.
Former infantry soldier Russell Flowers (pictured) is the bodyguard reported to have had ‘inappropriate contact’ with the wife of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed, sparking their divorce
Flowers, a close protection officer (pictured at Ascot last year with Princess Haya and Sheikh Mohammed) worked for the Princess for five years where the pair struck up a close friendship
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein pictured above leaving the High Court in London with her lawyer today
The princess would spend time with the former Infantry soldier at the couples’ stunning 3,000-acre Suffolk home Dalham Hall (above). Mr Flowers lived in his marital home nearby in Newmarket before he separated from his wife last year
Battle of the big-money briefs: Ruler of Dubai and his on-the-run wife bring in two of London’s most famous divorce lawyers as they prepare to go war over his billions
By Joe Middleton for MailOnline
The ruler of Dubai and his on-the-run wife have brought in two of London’s most famous divorce lawyers as they prepare to go to war over his billions.
Oxford educated Princess Haya Al Hussein fled the country with her children after the break up of her marriage with billionaire Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
Princess Haya hired Baroness Shackleton, who has represented Prince Charles and Sir Paul McCartney.
Princess Haya is thought to be living in London at an £85 million mansion near Kensington Palace, and has hired Baroness Shackleton (pictured right), who has represented Prince Charles and Sir Paul McCartney. Meanwhile Sheikh Mohammed has hired Helen Ward (pictured left) who represented Guy Ritchie when he was divorcing Madonna
Meanwhile Sheikh Mohammed has employed Helen Ward who represented Guy Ritchie when he was divorcing Madonna.
The hiring of two of London’s most reputable lawyers indicates the capital is the likely venue for is likely to be one an obscenely expensive and fiercely contested divorce and custody battles in the capital’s history.
Baroness Shackleton is known as the ‘Steel Magnolia’, for her charm and determination, after securing the Prince of Wales a divorce settlement in 1996.
She also represented Sir Paul McCartney in his divorce, and famously had a glass of water thrown over her by Heather Mills.
Baroness Shackleton became a life peer sitting on the Tory benches in 2010 and remains the personal solicitor of Princes William and Harry.
Meanwhile Lady Ward, who works for Stewart’s Law of London, is known for her sharp intelligence and work ethic, previously claiming she worked 17 or 18 hour days ‘if I have to.’
Lady Ward was also represented Bernie Ecclestone in his £2bn divorce battle with ex-wife Slavica, at the High Court in 2009.