On July 30 and 31st, there will be hearing into the case filed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Princess Haya of Jordan to determine the custody of the children. The case though was earlier publicized to be related to divorce and billions of dollars demanded by Princess Haya, the latest dramatic statement from the couple proves, the divorces actually has already taken place and the financial matter has also been resolved behind the screen, while now most definitely Princess Haya is willing to let her children return to Dubai and she wants to begin a new life after marrying her bodyguard-turned-lover Russell Flowers.
The dramatic statement came following a private hearing held on July 20, 2019, before the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane.
The statement issued by Maktoum and Haya said, “These proceedings are concerned with the welfare of the two children of their marriage and do not concern divorce or finances”.
They added that this case is to “deal with issues relating to how to proceed to a final hearing to determine the welfare issues”.
The two children are 11-year-old Sheikha Jalila and seven-year-old Sheikh Zayed who was rumoured to have fled with their mother to Europe.
Princess Haya, the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and half-sister of King Abdullah, is one of the Sheikh’s several wives, and they married in 2004. Last month, reports began circulating that she had fled Dubai, first to Germany and then to the UK where she was supposedly in hiding, requesting asylum.
Sheikh Mohammed, represented by Lady Helen Ward of Stewarts, opened the legal case against Haya in May; it is due to be heard in the Family Division of the High Court.
“The case was last heard on the 22 May 2019 before Mr Justice Moor, and the case is next listed before the President on the 30th July 2019.
The princess is close to the British royal family and owns an £85m house near Kensington Palace in central London. She married Sheikh Mohammed in 2004.
Educated at private schools in the UK and the University of Oxford, where she studied philosophy, politics and economics, she has served on the International Olympic Committee and has been a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations World Food Program.
Both parties and the media have been asked whether they are seeking to impose or challenge any reporting restrictions on the hearings. The default position is that children involved in family court proceedings cannot be named.
Princess Haya is understood to be represented by Fiona Shackleton, who represented Prince Charles during his divorce from Princess Diana. Shackleton’s firm, Payne Hicks Beach, declined to comment.
The sheikh is represented by Helen Ward QC, of Stewarts Law, who has previously represented Andrew Lloyd Webber, Paloma Picasso, Guy Ritchie and Bernie Ecclestone.
According to a credible source, the reason behind the dramatic statement is to hide many things from the focus of the media. It is evidently clear that the divorce between Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein has already taken place and the amount of divorce settlement would not be made public. Meanwhile, Sheikh Maktoum most possible will get custody of Sheikha Jalila while Sheikh Zayed’s custody may go to Princess Haya.
The source said, it is also possible that both the children will grow and get educated in a third country, while Sheikh Zayed may lose the legal heir to Sheikh Mohammed Maktoum, as his birth is questioned. In that case, Zayed will lose the title ‘Sheikh’ and may grow like a wealthy individual with his mother and her next husband – Russell Flowers.
Sohail Choudhury is the Executive Editor of Blitz. To reach him: sohail.choudhury[at]gmail.com