Dubai's Princess Haya Applied For a Protective Order Designed For Women in Forced Marriages

L-R: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Princess Haya
Image: Getty

Earlier this year, Princess Haya bint al-Hussein of Jordan—daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and currently the ruler of Dubai’s sixth wife—reportedly fled United Arab Emirates with her two children. Since then, according to NPR, she’s been “hiding in a townhouse in London’s posh Kensington Palace Gardens.”

There was little news on Princess Haya until Tuesday, when she appeared in the family court of the High Court of England and Wales to apply for a protective order “intended to safeguard victims of forced marriages and domestic abuse,” which includes wardship over her children and a non-molestation order for herself. The Sheikh was not present at the time.

The reason for Princess Haya’s fleeing is currently unknown, but BBC cites sources close to the princess who cited “the mysterious return to Dubai last year of Sheikha Latifa, one of Sheikh Mohammed’s daughters.”

As you may recall, in March 2018, Princess Sheikha Latifa posted a video on YouTube announcing her plans to flee the UAE with the desire to “claim my life, my freedom,” an escape she planned for seven years, according to the Guardian. She was caught 30 miles off the coast of India not long afterward—the Human Rights Watch alleged that she might have been abducted against her well—and wasn’t seen from for months, until December 2018, when photos of the Emirati princess were released to “provide evidence that HH Sheikha Latifa was at home and living with her family in Dubai,” according to the UAE foreign ministry.

A source close to the Dubai government explained the situation to the Guardian as “a domestic issue that transformed into a soap opera that transformed into a rampaging scheme to tarnish the reputation of Dubai and Sheikh Mohammed,” and, at the time, Princess Haya defended Dubai. According to the BBC, she claimed, “Sheikha Latifa had been ‘vulnerable to exploitation’ and was ‘now safe in Dubai.’”

If Princess Haya’s reason for fleeing is what the BBC insinuated—that new information from the case spurred her departure—it seems like the whole saga might be take an even darker turn. It’s hard to tell, now, with so little information, but if her request for a protective order goes further in U.K. courts, perhaps that won’t be the case for much longer.

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Maria Sherman

Senior Writer, Jezebel. Opinions sometimes my own.