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Princess Haya has hired Prince William and Harry's lawyer to fight her divorce from the Emir of Dubai, and she's an expert in royal separations

Business Insider | Jul 4, 2019, 04.47PM IST

Queen Elizabeth II (R) and Princess Haya in Windsor, Berkshire.

Getty

Queen Elizabeth II (R) and Princess Haya in Windsor, England.

  • Princess Haya has hired a lawyer to British royalty to represent her in her divorce from husband the Emir and Sheik of Dubai, a source tells Business Insider.
  • Princess Haya fled to London in June, reportedly after learning chilling details about the failed escape of Princess Latifa, one of Sheik Mohammed al-Maktoum's 23 children.
  • She is now divorcing the Sheik, and has hired Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, of law firm Payne Hicks Beach, to advocate for her.
  • Shackleton represented Prince Charles during his divorce from Princess Diana Spencer in 1996, and is now a solicitor to Princes William and Harry.
  • Lady Helen Ward, from the law firm Stewart's, will represent Sheik Mohammed, legal sources told Business Insider.
  • Visit INSIDER'S homepage for more stories.

Princess Haya of Jordan has enlisted the expertise of Baroness Shackleton, a lawyer frequently used by the British royal family, to litigate divorce proceedings against her husband, the Emir of Dubai, a colleague for the lawyer told Business Insider.

Princess Haya fled to London this month. According to the BBC, she left after learning worrying details of the 2018 disappearance of Princess Latifa, one of husband Emir Sheik Mohammed al-Maktoum's 23 children.

She is now divorcing him at the High Court in London. The BBC, citing sources close to Haya, said she is "afraid for her life."

David Haigh, a lawyer for Latifa, told Business Insider that Haya has enlisted Shackleton to handle the case. She is currently a solicitor to Princes Harry and William, and has substantial experience of high-stakes divorce cases.

The Times of London also reported Shackleton's involvement, citing unnamed "legal sources."

Former clients include Prince Charles, in his 1996 divorce of Princess Diana, and Paul McCartney in his 2008 divorce of Heather Mills.

Jordanian Princess Haya bint Al-Hussein and husband Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum walk to the parade ring on Ladies Day the third day of racing at Royal Ascot in southern England

Reuters

Jordanian Princess Haya bint al-Hussein (L) and husband Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum at Royal Ascot, England.

Shackleton has yet to respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

A source close to Sheik Mohammed told Business Insider that divorce lawyer Lady Helen Ward, of the firm Stewart's, is to represent the Sheik during legal proceedings.

The case will be heard by Justice Moor at the High Court, which sits at London's Royal Courts of Justice. Hearings are scheduled for July 30 and July 31.

Baroness shackleton

PHB

Baroness Shackleton.

According to a Wednesday report by MailOnline, citing sources close to Haya, the prompt for her departure from Dubai was finding out that Latifa tried to run away.

The outlet said that Sheik Mohammed had told Haya that Latifa was kidnapped as part of an extortion attempt, rather than fleeing of her own free will.

A BBC documentary last year detailed how Latifa spent seven years planning the escape.

Read more: Dubai held a 'gender balance' awards, and every single winner is a man

The documentary details how Emirati commandos caught up with Princess Haya just off the coast of Goa, India, in April, a fortnight after she fled.

She was returned to Dubai, and has not been heard from in public since.

In December, the Emirati Embassy in London said in a statement that she was alive and "safe in Dubai."

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum

United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation via AP

In this Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 photo, released on Monday, Dec. 24, 2018, by the United Arab Emirates' Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, a daughter of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, left, meets Mary Robinson, a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former president of Ireland, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Before her escape Princess Latifa made a video to be released if her escape failed. In it Latifa said she was fleeing physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her father.

Haigh, the lawyer for Latifa, told Business Insider that Haya's lawsuit will draw attention back onto the human rights abuses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE.)

"It's good news for Latifa, as it's thrown what happened to her into a court which isn't corrupt," he said. "That's good news for anyone who has been abused in the UAE."

Shackleton represented Prince Charles during his split from Princess Diana Spencer in 1996, and represented Prince Andrew, Duke of York, during his divorce with Sarah, Duchess of York, the same year.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

United Arab Emirates' Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum attends the closing session of the GCC summit, in Sakhir, south of Manama, December 25, 2012.

She also represented Beatles star Paul McCartney as he divorced Heather Mills in 2008.

Sheikh Mohammed, also an amateur poet, released a mysterious verse this week that appears to allude to Princess Haya's escape to London.

A line in "Affection in Your Eyes" reads: "We have an ailment that no medicine can cure / No experts in herbs can remedy this."

Princess Haya is also suing for custody of the children she shares with Sheik Mohammed: Zayed, 7, and daughter Al Jalila, 11, Time magazine reported.

Another of his daughters, Sheikha Shamsa, fled the family's English country estate in a Range Rover in 2000 when she was 18, her friends told The Guardian. She was caught and sent to Dubai.

Radha Stirling, the CEO of Detained in Dubai, an advocacy group campaigning for Latifa, said in a statement on Monday: "Princess Haya has every reason to fear the consequences if she were to be sent back to Dubai. She surely knows, as Latifa knew, that asylum provides her the only safe route out of the royal palace."

Stirling added: "If she was abused, she could not go to the police; if she wanted a divorce, she could not go to the courts."

The Emirati embassy in London told Business Insider: "This is a private family matter and not one which the UAE government would involve itself in or comment on."

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