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Sir Andrew McFarlane said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had abused Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein to an “exorbitant degree”. He said the abuse was “conducted on a scale which is entirely outside the ordinary circumstances of cases heard in the family court”.
His findings came in a ruling at the end of a lengthy legal battle between the couple over their two children.
Sir Andrew said the sheikh, 72, had consistently displayed “coercive and controlling behaviour”. He added the abuse suffered by Haya, 47, was likely to have had “a profound impact upon every aspect of her day-to-day life”.
He added: “It will have totally dominated her thoughts, taken away her peace of mind and removed from her any sense of autonomy.”
The ruling is expected to be the final significant decision in the court case between the sheikh and the princess, who was his sixth wife.
She fled the United Arab Emirates in April 2019, saying she had become “terrified” of her then-husband.
In the judgment, Sir Andrew – the most senior family court judge in
England and Wales – limited Sheikh Mohammed’s parental responsibility for their daughter Al Jalila, 14, and son Zayed, 10. Princess Haya will now have sole responsibility for their medical care and schooling.
The sheikh, vice-president and Prime Minister of UAE, had wanted the children returned to Dubai. But since 2019 he has accepted they will live in England and has opted not to pursue face-to-face contact with them.
After fleeing to the UK, Princess Haya applied for the children to be made wards of court and asked the High Court to make a series of findings about Sheikh Mohammed.
This led to nearly 20 judgments, including a financial award of around £550 million for Haya’s lifelong security costs and the children’s care.
The sheikh was previously found to have conducted a “campaign of fear and intimidation” against the princess. In an earlier ruling, he was banned from buying an estate directly overlooking her Berkshire home.
The High Court also previously heard how multi-million-pound spyware was used to hack Haya’s phone and her security and legal teams.
In yesterday’s ruling, Sir Andrew accepted the sheikh loved the two children, who loved him back.
But he said there was an “absence of any acceptance of responsibility” or “expression of remorse”.
In her first statement about the case,
Princess Haya praised her children as “the two bravest souls of all”.
A spokesman for the sheikh said: “He maintains his denial of the allegations made in these contentious proceedings,” adding: “He loves his children and always will.”
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