London, UK – The sixth wife of the billionaire ruler of Dubai has applied to London court for an order to prevent one of the her children from being forced into marriage, news agencies reported.
The UK’s Press Association (PA) and Reuters reported that Princess Haya bint Al-Hussein had made an application for a forced marriage protection order at the Family Division of the High Court in London.
Princess Haya, who is married to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, appeared in person for the proceedings, following weeks of media speculation about her wherebouts.
The judge allowed the media to report limited details of the case. Reuters said the forced marriage protection order related to one of couple’s two children. In addition, the princess asked for both children to be made wards of court, PA reported. She also requested a non-molestation order for herself.
Under English law, a forced marriage protection order is intended to protect a person from marriage against their will, or to help someone already in a forced marriage, for example by preventing the person from being taken abroad.
In the case of children who become words of court, major decision about their welfare cannot be made without the approval of a judge.
Sheik Mohammed opposes the application and has asked the court to order the return of his children to Dubai, where he leaves. He was not present in court, and his representatives declined CNN’s request for comment.
The sheikh and the princess issued a statement earlier this month confirming the case related to their children.
“These proceedings are concerned with the welfare of the two children of their marriage and do not concern divorce or finances”, the statement read, according to the Press Association.
Tuesday’s proceedings were subject to heavy reporting restriction, and CNN and other international media were not allowed into the courtroom.
However, after hearing representations from British media organizations, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, allowed the broad outlines of the case to be reported. Reuters said the forced marriage protection order related to one of the children.
“There is a public interest in the public understanding, in very broad terms, proceedings that are before the court, the judge said, according to PA. he did not allow the gender or ages of the two children to be disclosed.
Reports have been swirling in British media for weeks about the collapsed royal marriage after the princess reportedly left her husband and traveled to London.
She is the third family member of Sheik Mohammed’s court to leave the UAE. Two of his daughters – from another marriage – have previously attempted to leave the country.
Princess Haya, the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and the half-sister of the King of Jordan, is a well-known international figure. She is close friends with the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The princess, who is 46, studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University and is a keen equestrian, representing Jordan at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Sheik Mohammed, who is 70, is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.
Princess Haya was represented in court by Fiona Shackleton, who acted for Prince Charles in his divorce from Princess Diana. Sheikh Mohammed’s legal team is headed by Helen Ward, who represented the actor Guy Rithchie in his split from the singer Madonna.