The Queen will refuse to be photographed with the ruler of Dubai after a High Court judgement ruled that he kidnapped two of his daughters, it has been reported.
The decision to dodge 70-year-old Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the Vice President and PM of the United Arab Emirates, and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, could have a lasting effect on British relations with the Middle Eastern nation.
For decades, the Queen and Sheikh Mohammed have been photographed together in public, with the British monarch even inviting the Sheikh to enjoy Ascot from the royal box.
Queen Elizabeth II (L) and UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum attend Investec Derby Day at the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs Racecourse on June 4, 2011 in Epsom, England
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Queen Elizabeth II attend the Royal Windsor Endurance event on day 3 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Windsor Great Park on May 16, 2014 in Windsor, England
Rumours of a royal snub, reported by the Times newspaper, come after Sheikh Mohammed, one of the world’s richest men, was exposed for having waged a campaign of ‘fear and intimidation’ against his youngest wife, Princess Haya, who fled to Britain last year fearing that he would kill her.
She will also avoid being seen with the princess, the Times reported.
In the 10-month child custody battle at the High Court, it was also found that the autocratic ruler was responsible for kidnapping his daughter Princess Shamsa from the streets of Cambridge in 2000.
Frankie Dettori with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Horse Racing at Newmarket Racecourse, Suffolk, Britain – 23 Sep 2011
He also sent commandos to abduct another runaway daughter, Princess Latifa, from a ship in the Arabian Sea, when she tried to escape her father’s clutches two years ago.
After the abductions, both women were locked in the Sheikh’s palaces, where they remain caged to this day.
Up until now, the relationship between the Windsors and Maktoums had long been cemented by racing and a shared love of horses. In 2009, Sheikh Mohammed gifted the Queen four yearlings, one of which nearly one the Derby in 2011.
Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein of Jordan (centre) and her lawyer, Baroness Fiona Shackleton (right), leave the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain, 28 February 2020. Princess Haya, the estranged wife of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, is in court during a case about their children’s welfare
In return, the Queen gave the Sheikh her thoroughbred, Highland Glen, as a present.
The friendship extends quite separately to the Sheikh’s estranged wife Princess Haya, whose explosive evidence in court helped expose the brutality of her husband. Haya’s Anglophile father King Hussein of Jordan was a warm and staunch ally of the UK and a close friend of the royals. Prince Charles attended his funeral in 1999.
The princess, an accomplished horsewoman who rode for her country in the Sydney Olympics, lavished praise on the Queen when presenting her with the International Equestrian Federation’s first ever lifetime achievement award.
‘She is a true horsewoman who rides whenever state business allows,’ the princess declared, adding that her ‘knowledge of breeding and bloodlines is incredible’.
It was against this backdrop of kinship and common interests that the Queen found herself unwittingly drawn into the sensational drama that has played out in the High Court between the sheikh and his wife.
Shortly after Princess Haya fled the UAE last year, before any legal proceedings were underway, she met the Queen for tea.
Just one month before, the Queen was photographed presenting the Sheikh with a trophy for winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.