princess haya sheikh mohammed

Royal courtroom battle between Princess Haya and Dubai ruler gets underway

The estranged couple are going to court over the welfare of their children

Gemma Strong

Princess Haya and her estranged husband, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, have begun a courtroom battle in London over the welfare of their two children. The princess was photographed for the first time since leaving Dubai for Britain in June as she arrived at London's High Court on Tuesday for the start of a two-day hearing. She was flanked by her legal team, including specialist divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton. It's thought Sheikh Mohammed is being represented in court by Helen Ward QC, from Stewarts Law.

Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya have been married since 2004

Princess Haya, who was born in Jordan and educated in Britain, is the daughter of the former King Hussein of Jordan, and the half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan. She is a former Olympic equestrian, having represented her home nation at the 2000 games in Sydney. Princess Haya, 45, married Sheikh Mohammed in 2004, becoming his sixth and "junior" wife, and is mother of his two youngest children. The 70-year-old sheikh, who is the billionaire owner of Godolphin horse racing stables, reportedly has 23 children by his different wives.

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The couple are parents to two children together

Earlier this month, the estranged couple took the unusual step of issuing a statement regarding their divorce proceedings, following extensive media coverage of their split. "These proceedings are concerned with the welfare of the two children of their marriage, and do not concern divorce or finances," it confirmed.