King Mohammed VI of Morocco and his wife Princess Lalla Salma have divorced, sources close to the palace tell HELLO!'s sister publication HOLA! The couple would have celebrated their sixteenth wedding anniversary on Tuesday 21 March, having married in 2002. Mohammed VI and his wife – born Salma Bennani – have two children together: 14-year-old Moulay Hassan, the future king of Morocco, and Princess Lalla Khadija, eleven.
News of the royal divorce comes weeks after Mohammed, 54, was operated on in Paris after suffering heart problems. The palace released a photo of the king recovering in his hospital bed, surrounded by his two children, his brother Prince Moulay Rachid and his three sisters, Princess Lalla Meryem, Princess Lalla Asma, and Princess Lalla Hasna. His wife Salma, 39, was notably absent from the photo.
The couple with their son, Moulay Hassan, the future king of Morocco
The couple had been apart for some time. They travelled to Cuba and Miami together in April 2017, but Salma has been keeping a low-profile since. Her last official engagement was in October when she attended an event at the Yves Saint Laurent museum in Marrakech. The mother-of-two has not been publicly working for her cancer prevention association either.
The king, meanwhile, has been focusing on his recovery after his operation. King Felipe of Spain and Queen Letizia's state visit to Morocco was cancelled; they were due to travel in early January. At the time, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that both Spanish and Moroccan governments agreed the trip would be rescheduled to March.
The Spanish royals cancelled their visit in January
Mohammed and Salma met at a party in 1999, and the king surprised many when he announced his future wife's name as traditionally wives of Moroccan kings had remained private figures. Upon marriage, Salma was granted the title of 'Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Salma' becoming the first wife of a Moroccan king to be given a royal title. 'Lalla' is a traditional name given in honour to women in high society and royalty.