In a highly unusual move, Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai and Princess Haya of Jordan have issued a statement regarding their divorce proceedings. The couple decided to speak after extensive media coverage of their split, and have confirmed that their upcoming courtroom legal dispute is regarding their children’s welfare. A two-day hearing in London’s High Court is due to take place on 30th and 31st July. The statement, issued through the court, confirmed: “These proceedings are concerned with the welfare of the two children of their marriage and do not concern divorce or finances”.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum is vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Dubai. The 70-year-old billionaire is also the founder of the successful Godolphin horse racing stable, and just last month received a trophy from the Queen after one of his horses won a race at Royal Ascot.
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, 45, is the daughter of the former King Hussein of Jordan, and the half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan, who is married to Queen Rania. She is the Sheikh’s sixth wife following their 2004 marriage in Amman, and mother of his two youngest children, 11-year-old Sheikha Jalila and seven-year-old Sheikh Zayed. He reportedly has 23 children by his different wives. Princess Haya is now said to be living with her children in the family’s £85 million home in Kensington, after reportedly fleeing Dubai earlier this year.
Sheikh Mohammed is being represented in court by Helen Ward QC, from Stewarts Law, who is previously worked with the likes Guy Ritchie, Andrew Loyod Webber and Bernie Ecclestone. Princess Haya, meanwhile, is thought to be represented by Fiona Shackleton, who famously worked with Prince Charles during his divorce from Princess Diana, and Paul McCartney following his split from Heather Mills.