Billionaire Dubai ruler Sheikh Al Maktoum loses court bid to keep secret his marital feud


The ruler of Dubai today lost his court bid to keep secret his marital feud with his youngest wife who ran away to London.

The Appeal Court ruled that the world should know what a judge has concluded about Sheikh Maktoum and Princess Haya’s High Court wrangle, which has been going on since she fled Dubai last year.

Princess Haya, wearing a lilac dress suit, was in the Appeal Court in London to hear the verdict, arriving with lawyer Baroness Fiona Shackleton.

But despite the ruling, the details of the case remain private because the billionaire sheikh – a friend of the Queen – now has the option of taking his appeal to the Supreme Court, to ask the highest judges in the land to keep the case under wraps.

Princess Haya, 45, ran away to London last year ‘in fear of her life’, taking the couple’s two children with her. The sheikh, who owns racehorse stables and homes in the UK, applied to the High Court for the ‘summary return’ of the young royals.

The judge in the High Court case, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has presided over a dozen hearings in private and has made a series of findings, which at present cannot be reported because the family court operates in private.

 But Sir Andrew, the president of the family division of the High Court, has ruled that his judgment can be made public. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 70, appealed this decision, and there was a hearing on Wednesday at the Appeal Court.

Today, the Appeal Court vice president Lord Justice Underhill said: ‘The unanimous decision of the court is that these appeals should be dismissed.’

Princess Haya arriving at the Court of Appeal with Baroness Fiona Shackleton for today’s hearing 

Haya with Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum at Ascot in 2008

Princess Haya accompanies Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum at Ascot in 2008

Princess Haya, 45, who was the youngest of his six wives, is supporting a media application for the world to be allowed to see the family court’s judgments in the case. The independent guardian, who was appointed by the court to represent the two children’s interests, is also supporting the bid to publish the documents.

Princess Haya was accompanied by her solicitor Baroness Shackleton, nicknamed the ‘Steel Magnolia’, who famously handled the divorces of Prince Charles and Sir Paul McCartney.

The Daily Mail is spearheading the application to ease reporting restrictions, along with The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, the BBC and others.

The long-running case has included evidence from a British police chief who investigated claims that Sheikh Maktoum previously kidnapped a runaway daughter, Princess Shamsa, from Cambridgeshire and had her returned to Dubai.

Another witness who gave evidence was present on a yacht when another of his daughters, Princess Latifa, was also allegedly abducted. The sheikh vehemently denies the claims.

Princess Haya (seen outside the Court of Appeal today) has been locked in a long-running custody battle with her estranged husband

Princess Haya (seen outside the Court of Appeal today) has been locked in a long-running custody battle with her estranged husband 

Sheikh Mohammed's legal team is headed by Lord Pannick QC, (left) who acted for Gina Miller in the landmark Supreme Court case over the prorogation of Parliament

He was also represented in preliminary hearings by Lady Helen Ward, a solicitor who represented director Guy Ritchie in his divorce from Madonna

Sheikh Mohammed’s legal team is headed by Lord Pannick QC, (left) who acted for Gina Miller in the landmark Supreme Court case over the prorogation of Parliament. He was also represented in preliminary hearings by Lady Helen Ward, (right) a solicitor who represented director Guy Ritchie in his divorce from Madonna

The princess asked the High Court for a ‘non-molestation order’, commonly used in domestic violence cases. She also urged the court to protect one of her children from being forced into an arranged marriage, applying for a ‘forced marriage protection order’. This is designed to stop someone who may be at risk of a forced marriage from being taken out of the UK.

Haya’s solicitor Baroness Shackleton became a life peer sitting on the Tory benches in 2010 and remains the personal solicitor of Princes William and Harry.  

Sheik Mohammed, who turned 70 last July, is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai. He has more than 20 children by different wives.

He is also the founder of the successful Godolphin horse racing stable and received a trophy from the Queen after one of his horses won a race at Royal Ascot earlier this year.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk