What Princess Haya will get from Dubai ruler following £500m+ divorce bill

What Princess Haya will get from Dubai ruler following £500m+ divorce bill
4 min read
23 December, 2021
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum has been ordered by an English court to pay a massive £554 million settlement for the upkeep of his ex-wife Princess Haya and their two children. This is what the money will pay for.
Princess Haya (left) will receive £554 million for the upkeep of her children following the English court ruling [Getty]

Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, has been ordered by an English court to pay his former wife, Jordanian Princess Haya bint Al-Hussein a mind-boggling £554 million (US$733 million) in expenses to raise their two children.

This is believed by some lawyers to be the largest custody settlement in English history, but it is less than half of the 1.4 billion pounds ($1.85 billion) originally sought by Princess Haya.

The massive divorce settlement has raised questions about just how much wealth both Sheikh Mohammed and his estranged wife possess, their lifestyle, and what exactly the millions that Haya will now receive for the upkeep of their children will be spent on.

'Limitless' wealth 

The ruler of Dubai must make a one-off payment of £251.5 million ($334.3 million) within the next three months to Princess Haya and then make further maintenance payments, according to the court order.

Haya’s lawyers said that when she was married to the sheikh, they had access to a "limitless" supply of wealth, with access to over a dozen luxury homes, a £400 million yacht, and private planes.

Her annual household budget was estimated at £83 million ($110 million), with another £9 million ($12 million) in spending money.  

Sheikh Mohammed's total net worth was estimated by Forbes magazine at £13.5 billion ($18 billion) in 2008, with more recent estimates from other sources giving a lower figure of  £10.5 billion ($14 billion).

Princess Haya became Sheikh Mohammed's sixth wife when she married him in 2004. The couple's divorce was highly acrimonious, making global headlines after Princess Haya fled to Germany and later the UK.

Sheikh Mohammed later accused her of "treachery and betrayal" in an angry poem on Instagram, adding "I don't care if you die". The princess had had an affair with one of her bodyguards and the Sheikh divorced her according to Islamic law on 7 February 2019, the 20th anniversary of the death of her father, King Hussein of Jordan, without informing her.

What will the divorce settlement be spent on?

The judge who ordered the custody payment, Philip Moor, said that he was ordering the sum to provide Princess Haya security from the sheikh, after alleged threats of kidnapping, and to compensate her for possessions she lost as a result of her divorce and flight from Dubai.

The princess was "not asking for an award for herself other than for security", Moor said.

Sheikh Mohammed had allegedly orchestrated the kidnap of two of his daughters, Princess Shamsa and Princess Latifa, after they tried to flee the UAE.

Shamsa has not been seen alive since 2000, while Latifa was dramatically captured by commandos in 2018 in the Indian Ocean and forced to return to Dubai. She was seen in Iceland in August 2021.

After Haya fled to the UK, Sheikh Mohammed tried to buy an estate immediately adjoining hers. The court also found that he had tried to use Israeli-manufactured Pegasus spyware to hack Haya and her lawyers' phones. Moor said that this is why he had ordered Sheikh Mohammed to pay costs for their security immediately.

"I am absolutely clear that, in such circumstances, it would be quite wrong for the security payments to be made over many years by the source of the main threat," he said.

The threat to Haya and her children was underlined in the court session when her head of security was brought in to testify regarding her security needs. He was identified only as "Director 1", shielded with a curtain, and the court's windows were blacked out while he was present. The security arrangements the sheikh will have to pay for include a fleet of armoured cars which will be replaced every few years.

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However, not all the money Sheikh Mohammed will pay to Haya will be used for security. Moor awarded Princess Haya more than £13.5 million for jewellery she lost as a result of the end of her marriage. The court heard that she had a total of £20 million worth of jewellery that would ‘fill the courtroom’ if spread out.

The judge also awarded over £1 million for the children’s leisure activities, granting the princess a budget of £277,000 for animals, including a horse and two ponies.

“I do, of course, accept that the children should have ponies to ride,” he said, adding that the “exceptional wealth and remarkable standard of living enjoyed by these children during the marriage takes this case entirely out of the ordinary.”

Some horses owned by Princess Haya, who is a former Olympic showjumper, will also be returned to her under the settlement.

The princess and her children’s "remarkable standard of living" also meant that Moor ordered Sheikh Mohammed to pay them £5.1 million for holidays, including seven international holidays lasting nine weeks, three short holidays in Jordan, and two weeks of holidays in the UK. £300,000 of this money will be used to pay for food, activities, and other expenses during the seven trips.

Moor also ordered Sheikh Mohammed to pay £3 million for the education of his children, as well as £1.9 million for kitchen equipment at Princess Haya’s London home.

"I remind myself that money was no object during the marriage," Moor said.