Dubai’s Runaway Royal: Why Did Princess Haya Flee Her Husband?

For those who don’t know much about Princess Haya, let’s take a more in-depth look. She is the wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. Born in Amman, Jordan in 1974, the princess lost her mother in a tragic accident at the age of three, something that surely affected her deeply.

She went on to spend a great deal of her childhood in the United Kingdom, attending elite boarding schools and excelling in her studies. According to Insider, Princess Haya went on to continue her education at the prestigious Oxford University, where she concentrated on politics, philosophy, and economics. Recently, Princess Haya made headlines when she decided to flee her husband and escape to London, England. So, what is the reason for this, and what exactly happened? 

Princess Haya’s marriage to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein | Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Cartier

Princess Haya’s marriage to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, is anything but traditional. The two were married in an extremely small ceremony in 2004 when she was only 25 years old, and he was 30 years her senior. Princess Haya became his sixth wife, making her known as his “junior” wife.

Sheikh Mohammed’s wives are not seen in public very often, although, according to the UK’s Insider, Princess Haya had a pretty high-profile life before she was married. According to Biography,  Sheikh Mohammed has an interest in poetry, hunting, and horse racing. He has a pretty impressive net worth at over $9 billion dollars, and he is the father of 23 children, two of which he shares with Princess Haya.

Why did Princess Haya flee Dubai?

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Princess Haya recently decided to flee Dubai for London with her children, where she is reportedly staying at her family’s lavish home located in Kensington Palace Gardens. The Sun reports that the royal spent months planning her escape, and made the decision after finding out that Sheikh Mohammed not only imprisoned and tortured Princess Latifa, his daughter, but that he lied about it as well. As a result, Princess Haya feared for her life and the lives of her children.

In addition, the report goes on to say that Princess Haya had a close relationship with her bodyguard, something that her husband greatly resented, and that he wrote on Instagram that she is a “betrayer.” She is now planning to divorce Sheikh Mohammed, as well as preparing for a custody battle regarding their children, who are ages seven and eleven. 

What about Princess Latifa?

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After disappearing off the coast of Goa, India about a year ago, MSN reports that Princess Latifa is currently in a safe place. At the time of her disappearance, the princess, whose full name is Princess Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, was trying to escape her father, whom she was apparently pretty scared of and intimidated by. At one point, she was returned at gunpoint to Dubai and was subsequently detained.

UK’s Express can report that she was seeking asylum after saying that she was severely abused by her father, Sheikh Mohammed. Since then, she has appeared in several photographs, but they are said to have been for publicity stunts. Currently, Princess Latifa is looking for a new start and for safety from the abuse that she previously suffered. Princess Haya is concerned about the same thing and knows that her life is definitely in danger. According to The Guardian, Princess Haya has upcoming hearings with London’s High Court in regards to what is best for their two children.