- Princess Haya, the wife of Dubai Emir Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has fled to London, apparently disturbed by chilling new details about the fate of a runaway princess captured last year, the BBC reported on Tuesday.
- Princess Haya is said to be hiding out at a Kensington Palace Gardens townhouse in London and beginning divorce proceedings, the BBC and The New York Times reported.
- In 2018, Sheikha Latifa, one of Sheikh Mohammed’s 23 children, was fleeing to India when she was caught by Emirati commandos and returned to Dubai. She has not been heard from since.
- Sources close to Princess Haya told the BBC that she had learned disturbing facts about Sheikha Latifa’s capture and decided to flee to London.
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Princess Haya, the wife of Dubai Emir Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has fled the United Arab Emirates and is hiding in London, said to have learned chilling details about the case of a princess who tried to flee and was captured in 2018.
Princess Haya is said to have fled to a $US107 million townhouse in Kensington Palace Gardens, the BBC reported on Tuesday. A source close to the royal family told The New York Times that she was seeking to divorce her husband, the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.
She brought her son, Zayed, 7, and her daughter, Al Jalila, 11, to London with her, the Daily Beast reported.
A Jordanian journalist, Osama Fawzi, first said on YouTube on June 22 that the princess had escaped the royal household.
A spokesman for the UAE government told Business Insider: “The UAE government does not intend to comment on allegations about individuals’ private lives.”
Sources close to Princess Haya, the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan, told the BBC she fled after learning details about the disappearance last year of Sheikha Latifa, one of her husband’s 23 children.
A BBC documentary last year detailed how Sheikha Latifa spent seven years planning her escape from Dubai, enlisting the help of a former French spy, her Finnish martial-arts teacher, and an escape boat flying a US flag to deter pursuers.
Sheikha Latifa, who was 32 at the time, got within touching distance of Goa, on India’s western coast, 1,200 miles away, but was chased down by Emirati commandos and returned to Dubai in March 2018.
She has not been heard from since, and activists fear she has been jailed indefinitely.
In December, the Emirati Embassy in London assured well-wishers in a statement that she was alive and “safe in Dubai.”
Before she fled, Sheikha Latifa made a video in which she accused her father of abuse and inflicting trauma. She entrusted the tape to her lawyer, who was instructed to release it if her escape attempt went wrong, the BBC documentary said.
Radha Stirling, the CEO of Detained in Dubai, an advocacy group campaigning for Sheikha Latifa’s cause, said in a statement on Monday: “Princess Haya has every reason to fear the consequences if she were to be sent back to Dubai. She surely knows, as Latifa knew, that asylum provides her the only safe route out of the royal palace.”
Stirling added: “If she was abused, she could not go to the police; if she wanted a divorce, she could not go to the courts.”
Sheikh Mohammed, known as an amateur poet, released a mysterious poem this week that appears to allude to his wife’s escape.
A line in “Affection in Your Eyes” reads: “We have an ailment that no medicine can cure / No experts in herbs can remedy this.”
Another of his daughters, Sheikha Shamsa, fled the family’s English country estate in a Range Rover in 2000 when she was 18, her friends told The Guardian. She was caught and sent to Dubai.
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