Princess Haya and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum lived large during their marriage, having multiple villas and a $400 million super yacht and also spending over $2m on strawberries. It seemed money could buy everything, until HRH was blackmailed by her lover and his companions which resulted in her paying for their silence with $7,5 million (around £5,606,240) using her daughter’s trust account.

But the silence was short lived.

The sheikh divorced his wife when he found out about the affair which led to multiple court proceedings costing over £70m in legal fees.

How is this case unique?
Upon a balance of probabilities, the high court judge found that:

  • Sheikh Mohammed orchestrated the abductions of Princess Latifa and Princess Shamsa; two of his other children. Princess Shamsa was abducted from the streets of Cambridge in 2000 – also subjected Haya to a course of “intimidation”.
  • While Haya and five associates including two of her lawyers were in court, he hacked their phones using Pegasus spyware from NSO Group, which only can be used by governments.
  • His agents tried to buy a £30m estate next door to Haya’s Berkshire home, putting her “at serious risk”.

During the court proceedings, there were no signs of the alleged blackmailers.

After the proceedings the judge ordered the ruler to pay over £500m – the largest divorce settlement in UK history – from which he has to pay £250m upfront then provide a bank guarantee of £290m for annual payments in settlement so her ex-wife could continue to enjoy the lifestyle to which she and her children have become accustomed.

A settlement of £210m will cover Haya’s lifetime security costs, along with those of her children until they complete tertiary education. Moreover, he must also pay £41.5 million for chattel cash for education and maintenance arrears to his ex-wife and £5.6 million per year to each child in maintenance until they finish tertiary education, when he must instead pay them directly with the same amount as their security. Taking the bank guarantee into account, the settlement would total £554m, although it depends on how long the annual payments last.

Why have a prenup?
A prenuptial agreement can save thousands, or in this case millions. Princess Haya and Sheikh Mohammed did not have a prenup which led to these long court proceedings costing a large sum. A prenuptial agreement can help to protect your and your spouse’s wealth in the event of a divorce and makes assets easier to divide.