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Report: Dubai Ruler's Wife Flees Country, Seeks Divorce

Sources say Princess Haya fears for her life
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2019 1:50 AM CDT
Updated Jul 3, 2019 6:41 AM CDT
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and the Ruler of Dubai, center, with his wife Princess Haya and their daughter watch horse racing at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, United Arab...   (AP Photo/Martin Dokoupil)
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(Newser) – The most high-profile of the ruler of Dubai's six wives has fled the emirate for Britain—and sources tell the BBC that she fears she may be forced back or even killed. Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, daughter of King Hussein of Jordan, fled to London months ago with her 11-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son and is living in a home worth more than $100 million, sources tell the New York Times. The Times' sources say the 45-year-old plans to seek political asylum in Britain and file for divorce from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, whom she married in 2004. United Arab Emirates have reportedly asked UK authorities to send her back, but Britain's Foreign Office is treating the dispute as a private matter, according to the Guardian.

"The UAE government does not intend to comment on allegations about individuals’ private lives," an embassy spokesperson said, adding that the government has not raised the issue with officials in the UK or Germany, where the princess reportedly sought asylum before traveling to London. The BBC's sources say Princess Haya began to fear for her life after learning "disturbing facts" about the case of Princess Latifa, one of the ruler's daughters from another wife, who was reportedly recaptured by armed men last year after trying to flee Dubai in a sailboat. The 69-year-old sheikh has not commented publicly on the dispute with Princess Haya, though he has been posting "anguished" love poems on his website, the Times notes. "You no longer have a place with me," he says in one poem. "I don’t care if you live or die." (Read more Dubai stories.)

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