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Princess Haya is ‘fully’ justified in fearing her children will be snatched, judge says


Princess Haya is ‘fully’ justified in fearing her children will be snatched from their English country home by their sheikh father’s henchmen in a helicopter, High Court judge says

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, PM of the United Arab Emirates, poses a ‘very significant threat’ to his ex-wife and Al Jalila, 13, and Zayed, nine
  • He could abduct them as he did their half sisters, princesses Shamsa and Latifa
  • Shamsa was kidnapped at gunpoint in Cambridgeshire in August 2000 
  • Latifa was taken by commandos from a yacht when she tried to flee in 2018


Princess Haya is ‘fully’ justified in fearing her children will be snatched from their English country home by their father’s henchmen using a helicopter, a judge said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, poses a ‘very significant threat’ to his ex-wife and Al Jalila, 13, and Zayed, nine.

And he could abduct them as he did their half-sisters Princess Shamsa and Princess Latifa.

Shamsa was kidnapped at gunpoint in Cambridgeshire in August 2000 after she ran away from the family’s Longcross estate in Surrey.

She was sedated and whisked out of the UK by helicopter.

At risk: Princess Haya with children Al Jalila, 13 and Zayed, 9 who a judge has said could be abducted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister of the United Arab Emirates

Incredibly, a kidnap investigation by Cambridgeshire Police was allegedly shut down by Foreign Office ministers as a favour to the oil-rich nation.

Then when Shamsa’s sister Latifa tried to flee Dubai in 2018, her ‘coercive and controlling father’ sent commandos to abduct her from her getaway yacht, the court has found. She was taken back to Dubai.

Now a judge ruled that Haya has good reason to fear both for her own life and that her ex-husband’s bid to acquire the neighbouring estate to her Castlewood mansion in Berkshire was ‘part of a plan aimed ultimately at the abduction of the children and causing harm to me’. 

Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the High Court’s family division, claimed that Sheikh Mohammed had waged a campaign of fear and intimidation against his ex-wife.

He added: ‘In circumstances when it takes but a moment to snatch a child from a garden or a country lane… the need to prevent the father, or those acting on his behalf, from coming close to the mother’s property is, in my view, fully made out.’

He also said that Haya firmly believed that, ‘were he to spot an opportunity to do so, the father would not hesitate to attempt to abduct the two children in order to repatriate them to Dubai.

Caught at sea: Princess Latifa tried to flee but was captured by commandos on a yacht in 2018

Caught at sea: Princess Latifa tried to flee but was captured by commandos on a yacht in 2018

Held at gunpoint: Princess Shamsa, who was kidnapped at gunpoint in Cambridgeshire in August 2000 after she ran away from the family’s Longcross estate in Surrey

Held at gunpoint: Princess Shamsa, who was kidnapped at gunpoint in Cambridgeshire in August 2000 after she ran away from the family’s Longcross estate in Surrey

She also believes that her own life and wellbeing are at extreme risk because her actions have greatly angered the father.’

The judge added: ‘When Sheikha Shamsa was abducted from Cambridge in August 2000, she was driven to one of his properties in Newmarket before being taken by helicopter to France, where she was put on a private plane and flown to Dubai.’

Against that background, he said Haya was therefore ‘justified’ in regarding Sheikh Mohammed’s attempt to buy the property next door as ‘a very significant threat to her security, both in terms of providing an opportunity for 24-hour close surveillance and as a close to hand transport hub for a helicopter’.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Princess Haya

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (left) hacked phones to snoop on his runway wife Princess Haya (right) after she fled to London, the High Court has found

The Sheikh's associates secretly tried to snap up English manor house Parkwood on 'the most expensive field in Britain', the HIgh Court heard

The Sheikh’s associates secretly tried to snap up English manor house Parkwood on ‘the most expensive field in Britain’, the HIgh Court heard 

One of Haya’s QCs, Tim Otty, told the judge: ‘The children are exposed to grave risk.

‘By grave risk, I mean that fate suffered by Sheikha Shamsa and Sheikha Latifa.’

Charles Geekie QC added that the judge hardly needed reminding that hacking Latifa’s phone had led to her being tracked down and abducted as she tried to flee for a new life in the West.

The court has also heard that Sheikh Mohammed’s right-hand man, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani – who was ‘at the heart’ of the Shamsa kidnapping – is still his key aide and was involved in the attempted purchase of Parkwood. 

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