Princess Haya attends first day of High Court battle with Dubai ruler

Princess Haya has attended the first day of her High Court battle with the ruler of Dubai over their children.

The full hearing of the dispute between Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein began in London on Tuesday.

The high-profile case is being heard by the president of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane.

Horse Racing – The Royal Ascot Meeting 2011 – Day One – Ascot Racecourse
Horse Racing – The Royal Ascot Meeting 2011 – Day One – Ascot Racecourse

Princess Haya attended the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, but Sheikh Mohammed did not.

The press were permitted to attend the hearing and report the fact that it took place, but no details of the legal arguments that were advanced.

The court heard at a preliminary hearing in July that Princess Haya has applied for a forced marriage protection order in relation to the children.

Such an order can be made to protect a person from being forced into a marriage and could, for example, prevent someone being taken abroad.

At that hearing, Sir Andrew allowed the media to report that Princess Haya has applied for a non-molestation order.

Sir Andrew rejected an application by Sheikh Mohammed’s lawyers for those details to be subject to reporting restrictions.

Princess Haya and Sheikh Mohammed – who married in 2004 – had issued a statement confirming they are parties to proceedings before the court following an earlier private hearing before Sir Andrew.

The statement said: “These proceedings are concerned with the welfare of the two children of their marriage and do not concern divorce or finances.”

Sheikh Mohammed, who turned 70 in July, is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.

He is also the founder of the successful Godolphin horse racing stable and received a trophy from the Queen after one of his horses won a race at Royal Ascot earlier this year.

Sheikh Mohammed is represented by Lord Pannick QC, who acted for Gina Miller in the landmark Supreme Court case over the prorogation of Parliament, and Lady Helen Ward, a solicitor who represented director Guy Ritchie in his divorce from Madonna.

Princess Haya, 45, who is the half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan and is Sheikh Mohammed’s sixth wife, reportedly fled Dubai earlier this year.

Her legal team includes Baroness Fiona Shackleton, who represented the Prince of Wales during his divorce from Diana, Princess of Wales, and Sir Paul McCartney in his divorce from Heather Mills.