Princess Haya, the estranged wife of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, has made an application to London's High Court for a forced marriage protection order relating to their children, as well as a non-molestation order following the breakdown of the couple's marriage. A forced marriage protection order is in place to protect an individual who has been, or is being, forced into marriage. Non-molestation orders, meanwhile, protect against harassment or violence by a partner, ex-partner or family member. Haya has also requested wardship of her two children, with whom she fled the UAE last month. Details of the orders sought by the princess are not known. Sheikh Mohammed, meanwhile, has applied for the return of his children to Dubai, and also requested the court to impose reporting restrictions on details about the orders – a request Judge Sir Andrew McFarlane rejected, stating "there is a public interest in the public understanding, in very broad terms, proceedings that are before the court".
Princess Haya has sought a forced marriage protection order
The two children are living with their mother in her £85 million home in Kensington, west London. Any decisions about their future cannot be made without the approval of the presiding judge, Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Courts Division. A court order is in place which means the names, ages and gender of their two children and details of the case cannot be reported. However, according to the Government's website, the "forced marriage protection order" that Haya is seeking for one of her children is commonly used to prevent someone "threatened with a forced marriage" leaving the country.
Princess Haya appeared in the family court division of the High Court in central London on Tuesday for the preliminary hearing. Her legal team includes Fiona Shackleton, who represented Prince Charles during his divorce from Princess Diana. Sheikh Mohammed did not appear at the hearing. It was the first time that Haya has been seen in public since she left the family home in Dubai last month.
The estranged couple pictured with the Queen at Ascot
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. The 70-year-old sheikh, who is the billionaire owner of Godolphin horse racing stables, reportedly has 23 children by his different wives.