The estranged wife of Dubai’s ruler is seeking court orders to prevent one of her children from the risk of having a forced marriage, as a court battle between the pair begins in London.
The applications emerged during a hearing into the welfare of the children of Princess Haya bint al Hussein, 45, and the billionaire prime minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, 70.
Princess Haya, who is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and was the sheikh’s sixth wife, has been living in London after travelling through Germany in June.
The couple married in 2004.
A hearing at the family division of the Royal Courts of Justice – which only a limited number of media outlets, including Sky News, were permitted to attend – was told Princess Haya has submitted applications for court wardship of the children, leave to apply for a forced marriage protection order and a forced marriage protection order regarding one of the children.
She also submitted a non-molestation order.
The sheikh has applied for the children to return to Dubai.
The children are currently wards of the court, meaning any major decisions impacting them must be cleared by the court.
As the hearings concern children, reporting restrictions to protect their welfare apply.
The initial two-day hearings come ahead of more substantive court sessions, for which a date has not been set.
Princess Haya sat with her legal team in the London courtroom, while the sheikh stayed away.
She is represented by Fiona Shackleton, who handled the split between Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Sheikh Maktoum is represented by Lady Helen Ward, whose previous clients include ex-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.