A court in London has given Dubai’s ex-wife a divorce settlement worth more than £ 550 million, about $ 728 million, in a rare lawsuit that exposed the ostentatious lifestyle of one of the richest and most guarded families in the public eye.
Princess Chaya Binat al-Hussein, daughter of former Jordanian King King Hussein, left Dubai for the UK in 2019 with the two young children she made with Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum. She said she feared for her life after Sheikh Muhammad had previously ordered that two of his other children be forcibly returned to the United Arab Emirates. Princess Chaya later revealed that Sheikh Muhammad, who is also the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, had divorced her a few months earlier under Sharia law without her knowledge.
Princess Chaya, 47, has sued Sheikh Muhammad, 72, in London High Court. She received a sum of £ 251.5 million, which is due to be paid to her within three months, and annual payments include funding for the maintenance of a £ 87.5 million estate near Kensington Palace in west London and about £ 277,000 for show horses.
The court also ordered Sheikh Muhammad to fund budgets for their two children, ages 9 and 14, including funding for their education and security. The judge said he ruled that the greatest risk to children comes from their father, after the threat of terrorism or kidnapping given their status as royalty.
The court found reasonable evidence that Sheikh Muhammad was the “probable source” of the hacking during the trial to the phones of Princess Chaya, her staff and at least two of her lawyers, Nicholas Manners and Baroness Shackleton From Belgravia, who serves in the House of Lords. The court has previously found that Sheikh Muhammad ordered and planned the abduction of two of his other children, forced them to return to Dubai and put them in custody there.
Princess Chaya Bynet al-Hussein / Photo: Reuters, Henry Nichols
The Dubai Ministry of Communications did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Sheikh Muhammad told the Associated Press in a statement that the leader always made sure his children got what they needed. “The court has ruled on the funding and has no intention of responding beyond that,” the statement said.
Sheikh Muhammad is a key figure in international horse racing and breeding, and was a regular guest of Queen Elizabeth at the annual horse race called the Royal Ascot. He has extensive property holdings in the UK, including several rural estates, although the line is sometimes unclear between his private property and the property of the country town whose control he inherited from his older brother.
Should Sheikh Muhammad decide not to heed the court’s decision, the princess’s lawyers will likely seek enforcement action, legal experts said. At this point, the Arab ruler may try to argue for protection through sovereign immunity, although dragging the conflict forward could damage his international reputation, they said.
The judge gave the living princess about £ 13.7 million in compensation for lost jewelry and about £ 1 million on haute couture items. The judge also ruled that Sheikh Muhammad should pay around £ 5.3 million for the princess’ house near Kensington Palace now, instead of in 2026, and that he should pay around £ 1.9 million for the kitchen extension, pizza oven and kitchen curtains in her home. Of the princess.
“I remind myself that money was not a major issue at the time of the marriage,” the judge wrote in the ruling, adding that the price for renovating a home in London “was much greater when the property was much less central in the children’s lives compared to the situation today.”