Dubai Princess Flees To London After 'Torture' Reports Of Step-Daughter
It's highly unusual for a senior member of the United Arab Emirates royal family to flee her husband and nation, but that's exactly what Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein has done.
Princess, the wife of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, has fled to London after reportedly discovering disturbing facts about the disappearance of her stepdaughter.
The BBC reports that Princess Haya 'fears for her life' after discovering more information about the disappearance, while a person close to the royal family told the New York Times that Haya fled several months ago and is seeking a divorce.
Who Is Princess Haya?
Princess Haya, 45, is the daughter of the former King of Jordan and half-sister to current King Abdullah II. She was an Olympic showjumper and represented Jordan at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, where she was also the nation's flag bearer at the opening ceremony.
She married Al Maktoum, 69, in 2004 and became his 'junior wife'.
She was appointed the UN's messenger for peace in 2007 and has been heavily involved with improving healthcare, especially for children.
Now the royal is said to be hiding out in a lavish London apartment with her two children, aged seven and 11, and is reportedly preparing for a legal battle in the UK high court.
Why is her stepdaughter involved?
Ruling Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, who is also Prime Minister and Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates, has been married at least twice officially but is believed to have six wives. It's believed he's fathered 23 children to various women.
While Haya always spoke highly of her marriage, cracks began to show when Sheikha Latifa, one of Sheikh Mohammed's daughters, tried to flee the country.
Latifa, 33, released a viral video where she claimed, "freedom of choice is not something that we have".
"I'm making this video because this could be the last video I make ... all my father cares about is his reputation," Latifa said in the video.
At the time it was widely reported that Latifa had managed to escape from the UAE by boat with the help of a Frenchman. She was intercepted by armed UAE officials just kilometres from the coast of India and taken back to Dubai.
What is the latest?
Since Latifa's return to Dubai, authorities have insisted she is safe and happy. At the time Princess Haya publicly supported these statements, saying her stepdaughter was doing well at home.
However, it seems this sentiment has changed drastically, with Haya fleeing the UAE for reportedly feeling unsafe. The BBC reports Princess Haya has learned some distressing detail about the possible torture of Latifa.
It's believed Princess Haya fled to Germany a few months ago, before travelling to the UK.
While al-Maktoum hasn't officially spoken about the disappearance of his wife, he has published poetry in both Arabic and English on his personal website.
“O sweetheart, there’s nothing more to say. / Your deathly silence has worn me out,” he wrote in one poem.
Jordan and the UAE have long had a close relationship based on cultural similarities. Recently, the two nations agreed to work together to encourage Palestinian- Israeli peace negotiations.
It's unclear if the apparent rift between Princess Haya and her husband will cause a fault in the nations' otherwise close relationship.
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