Jordanian Princess Haya, who escaped from Dubai last year, attended the High Court in London on Wednesday.
Princess Haya seeks the non-molestation order under the UK law – designed to help victims of domestic violence keep abusers away – and a forced marriage protection order in relation to the children. Jordan-born royal Haya and her estranged billionaire husband, ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum have an 11-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son.
Yesterday’s hearing of the long-running custody process was dedicated to the Sheikh’s appeal to keep the legal case secret.
In November the president of the family division of the High Court Sir Andrew McFarlane has ruled his ‘judgment on certain disputed factual issues’ and another related judgment should be made public. He has already delivered two judgments on questions decided in advance of the welfare hearing but they have not been published.
Princess Haya appeared at the court accompanied by her legal representer, solicitor Baroness Shackleton, who handled the divorces of Prince Charles and Sir Paul McCartney.
Baroness Shackleton s arguing for orders to prevent Haya and her children to be forced to return back to Dubai.
At the last hearing Lord Justice Underhill read out a public statement explaining that the case “raises matters of public interest beyond the particular issue in the wardship proceedings”.
In the two-page statement read out before the public were excluded from the hearing, Underhill said that media were allowed to remain during the private session but cannot immediately report on the rest of the proceedings.
On Wednesday Lord Justice Underhill, vice president of the Court of Appeal, said: ‘The president decided that the two previous judgments could and should now be published.
“The father contends that that decision was wrong in law and that the judgments should not be published.
“The appeal is opposed by the mother, the independent guardian appointed by the court to represent the children’s interests, and by a number of media organisations.”
At the moment, court orders prevent the public from knowing conclusions of the judge.
Princess Haya, 45, is sixth wife of Sheikh Mohammed, 70, who has more than 20 children by different wives.
The princess had been educated in the UK private school and frequently visited the country after finishing her Oxford degree, where she studied philosophy, politics and economics. A former Olympic contender in equestrian jumping, she was seen attending Royal Ascot horse races with her husband. Princess Haya is also believed to have friends among senior members of the British royal family.
Sheik Mohammed did not attend any of court hearings but has shared a number of poems on social media describing, ‘ betrayal ’ , not caring for ‘whether you are dead or alive ’ , and overcoming life’s challenges’.
The sheikh is represented by Helen Ward of Stewarts Law, who has previously represented Andrew Lloyd Webber, Paloma Picasso, Guy Ritchie and Bernie Ecclestone.