The High Court in London has ordered Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, to pay £554 million ($733 million) to settle a custody battle with his ex-wife, Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, over their two children.
On Tuesday, the court said that the princess, who is a half-sister to Jordan’s King Abdullah, should receive an initial award of £251.5 million ($332.8 million) from her former husband and Dubai’s ruler within three months.
The award to Princess Haya and the couple’s two children will provide for possessions lost during the divorce, as well as lifetime security, the court ruled. Judge Philip Moor said Sheikh Mohammed himself posed a “grave risk” to the three of them. “Absolutely uniquely, the main threat they face is from [the sheikh] himself, not from outside sources,” the judge stated.
Moor also said that the princess was not asking for more funds than would cover her own security and her possessions, such as jewelry and racehorses lost during the divorce. Her lawyers contended that she could have been entitled to billions, having been married to one of the richest men in the world. She had originally sought some £1.4 billion ($1.85 billion).
The rest of the £554 million ($733 million) custody settlement goes towards expenditure such as legal fees and provisions for their children’s maintenance and education. Sheikh Mohammed is required to pay £11.2 million a year for the children’s maintenance and security until Jalila, 14, and Zayed, nine, become adults.
The sheikh’s payments under the court ruling will be guaranteed by a £290 million ($383.8 million) security held by HSBC.
Princess Haya told the court that the one-off £251.5 million ($332.8 million) payout would allow her and the children to properly move on. “I really want to be free and I want them to be free,” she stated.
The settlement, the largest ever in the UK, is the culmination of a terse battle between the pair which began in 2019. The princess fled the UAE for safety in the UK, having asked the sheikh for a divorce after beginning a relationship with one of her bodyguards.
Later that year, a UK court ruled that Sheikh Mohammed had engaged in a campaign of threats and intimidation against the princess, causing her to fear for her life.