Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum's estranged wife, Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, has approached a UK court for a forced marriage protection order, wardship of her children and a non-molestation order. She was at the London high court's family court division on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
The forced marriage order, applied for by the Princess of Jordan, aims to provide protection to her children against forced marriages. The non-molestation order can protect the aggrieved party from violence or harassment from partners and family members.
While the billionaire Dubai ruler was not present at the hearing, he has reportedly sought the return of the couple's two children. The Princess had left the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with her children and has sought wardship - where the court gets to take major decisions on behalf of the children to ensure their wellbeing.
Sheikh Mohammed also applied for the court to impose a restriction on revealing the details of the case to the public. The plea was rejected by Judge Andrew McFarlane, the president of the high court's family division, who ruled there was "the public interest in the public understanding, in very broad terms, proceedings that are before the court," according to BBC.
Princess Haya is reportedly living in her mansion worth $107 million in Kensington Palace Gardens, Central London. She is the sixth wife of the 70-year-old Sheikh, who has more than 20 children with different wives.
The high-profile case is the latest incident of women from the royal family fleeing the country. Prior to this, Princess Latifa, the Sheikh's 30-year-old daughter, had escaped Dubai but was kidnapped from the Goa coast in India by commandos last year.
Sheikha Latifa has claimed in a video that she spent several years trying to flee the country but was unsuccessful in her attempts. The video prompted inquiries on human rights violation in the country.
The UAE royal family has rubbished the "false allegations" that said Sheikha Latifa was taken against her will. The royals released pictures of the princess with former United Nations high commissioner for human rights and Irish President Mary Robinson in December last year.