- Princess Haya has hired a lawyer to British royalty to represent her in her divorce from the emir and sheikh of Dubai, a source told Business Insider.
- Princess Haya fled to London in June, reportedly after learning chilling details about the failed escape of Sheikha Latifa, one of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s 23 children.
- She is now divorcing the sheikh and has hired Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia from the law firm Payne Hicks Beach to advocate for her.
- Shackleton represented Prince Charles during his divorce from Princess Diana Spencer in 1996 and is now a solicitor to Prince William and Prince Harry.
- Lady Helen Ward, from the law firm Stewart’s, will represent Sheikh Mohammed, legal sources told Business Insider.
- Visit INSIDER’S homepage for more stories.
Princess Haya of Jordan has enlisted the expertise of Baroness Shackleton, a lawyer frequently used by the British royal family, to litigate divorce proceedings against her husband, the emir of Dubai, a colleague for the lawyer told Business Insider.
Princess Haya fled to London this month. According to the BBC, she left after learning worrying details of the 2018 disappearance of Sheikha Latifa, one of her husband’s, Emir Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, 23 children.
She is now divorcing him at the High Court in London. The BBC, citing sources close to Princess Haya, said she is “afraid for her life.”
David Haigh, a lawyer for Sheikha Latifa, told Business Insider that Princess Haya has enlisted Shackleton to handle the case. She is a solicitor to Prince Harry and Prince William and has substantial experience in high-stakes divorce cases.
London’s The Times also reported Shackleton’s involvement, citing unnamed “legal sources.”
Her former clients include Prince Charles, in his 1996 divorce of Princess Diana, and Paul McCartney, in his 2008 divorce of Heather Mills.
Shackleton has yet to respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
A source close to Sheikh Mohammed told Business Insider that the divorce lawyer Lady Helen Ward, of the firm Stewart’s, would represent the sheikh during legal proceedings.
The case will be heard at the High Court, which sits at London’s Royal Courts of Justice. Hearings are scheduled for July 30 and 31.
According to a Wednesday report by MailOnline, which cited sources close to Princess Haya, the prompt for her departure from Dubai was finding out that Sheikha Latifa tried to run away.
The outlet said Sheikh Mohammed had told Princess Haya that Sheikha Latifa was kidnapped as part of an extortion attempt, rather than fleeing of her own free will.
A BBC documentary last year detailed how Sheikha Latifa spent seven years planning the escape.
The documentary details how Emirati commandos caught up with Princess Haya just off the coast of Goa, India, in April, two weeks after she fled.
She was returned to Dubai and has not been heard from in public since.
In December, the Emirati Embassy in London said in a statement that she was alive and “safe in Dubai.”
Before her escape, Sheikha Latifa made a video to be released if her escape failed. In it, Sheikha Latifa said she was fleeing physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her father.
Haigh, the lawyer for Sheikha Latifa, told Business Insider that Princess Haya’s lawsuit would draw attention back onto the human-rights abuses in the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s good news for Latifa, as it’s thrown what happened to her into a court which isn’t corrupt,” he said. “That’s good news for anyone who has been abused in the UAE.”
Shackleton represented Prince Charles during his split from Princess Diana in 1996 and represented Prince Andrew, Duke of York, during his divorce with Sarah, Duchess of York, the same year.
She also represented the Beatles star Paul McCartney as he divorced Heather Mills in 2008.
Sheikh Mohammed, also an amateur poet, released a mysterious verse this week that appears to allude to Princess Haya’s escape to London.
A line in “Affection in Your Eyes” reads: “We have an ailment that no medicine can cure / No experts in herbs can remedy this.”
Princess Haya is also suing for custody of the children she shares with Sheikh Mohammed: Zayed, 7, and daughter Al Jalila, 11, Time magazine reported.
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.
Radha Stirling, the CEO of Detained in Dubai, an advocacy group campaigning for Sheikha Latifa, 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.”
The Emirati embassy in London told Business Insider: “This is a private family matter and not one which the UAE government would involve itself in or comment on.”
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