Another runaway princess seems to have stirred up an international diplomatic crisis.
Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and one of the wives of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, is reportedly fearing for her life after leaving her husband and running away from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with two of her children and over $39 million. The princess and the sheikh have been embroiled in a legal battle in English courts after she filed for divorce, and the case is due to resume later this month.
The BBC, citing sources close to the princess, reported Tuesday that al-Hussein lives in fear of being abducted from London and being "rendered" back to Dubai.
The 45-year-old royal has also been quite inactive on social media since February, contrary to her usual habits as an activist and regular poster.
The BBC also alluded to Sheikh Mohammed's recent 'suggestive' posts, one in which he quoted a furious poem on Instagram, full of accusations of "treachery and betrayal".
Media reports state that she first sought asylum in Germany for herself and her two children, 11-year-old Jalila and 7-year-old Zayed. However, she is currently seeking refuge in the U.K. while in hiding.
If true, the matter could create a rift between the U.K. and the UAE, especially if British officials refuse her return. Likewise, the dispute could also spark a row between Jordan and Dubai.
Her escape, and her subsequent request for asylum, has been tied to her discovery of disturbing facts about Princess Sheikha Latifa's return to Dubai. Haya, who had actually defended the UAE during the controversy over Latifa's escape, became increasingly concerned for her personal safety amid growing pressure from her husband's family after she heard what really went on in Latifa's case.
The UAE embassy in London has declined to comment on the allegations, calling it "a personal matter" between two individuals.
The Jordanian princess received top-notch education at the U.K.'s Oxford University and is known for having close ties to the British royal family. The former Olympic athlete also owns a $107 million mansion near Kensington Palace.
This isn't the first time the 69-year-old Emirati Sheikh has been in the spotlight for family troubles. Last year one of his daughters, Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, who had allegedly escaped Dubai, was caught off the coast of India and forcibly returned home. She has not been since. Emirati officials have dismissed claims of an "enforced disappearance" and bad treatment, saying Latifa had been "vulnerable to exploitation" and had been "kidnapped".