Jordanian princess makes first public appearance since fleeing Dubai
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Jordanian princess makes first public appearance since fleeing Dubai

Haya Bint Al Hussein, a daughter of King Hussein, is fighting for custody of her children in a British court

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein holds her daughter Al Jalilah in her lap during the award ceremony of Dubai Ladies Masters golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Saturday Dec. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein holds her daughter Al Jalilah in her lap during the award ceremony of Dubai Ladies Masters golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Saturday Dec. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

A Jordanian princess who fled her husband in the United Arab Emirates made her first public appearance Tuesday at the start of court proceedings which will determine the future custody of her royal children, British media reported.

Haya Bint al-Hussein, one of six wives of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, fled to Europe with the couple’s two children and millions in cash in June.

The daughter of the late King Hussein, is currently hiding out in the UK after previously seeking asylum in Germany. She and her estranged husband, aged 70, are embroiled in a legal battle that is being fought in the English courts over their two children: daughter Jalila, 12, and son Zayed, 7.

Haya, 45, owns a palatial mansion in London and is known to be friendly with Britain’s royal family. Her half-brother is Jordan’s current king, Abdullah II. She and her siblings received top-notch education in England, with Haya graduating from Oxford University. She is a former Olympic athlete who represented Jordan in equestrian events at the 2000 games in Sydney.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, gives a speech during a special session at the World Government Summit 2017, in Dubai on February 12, 2017. (AFP/Stringer)

According to a report in The Telegraph, the Family Court Division of the High Court in London is hearing the case, which will focus on “the welfare of the two children of their marriage” and will feature some of Britain’s most expensive attorneys. According to the report, she has not yet requested asylum. The Daily Mail reported that the princess had applied for a full custody forced marriage protection order.

In 2018 news reports emerged that Sheikh Maktoum was suspected of forcibly abducting Latifa, a daughter from one of his other wives, in what Human Rights Watch said might have been an “enforced disappearance.”

Latifa reportedly fled the UAE in order to live a freer life abroad, but witnesses said she was abducted from a luxury yacht off the coast of India and returned to Dubai. She has not been seen since.

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