A woman who claims she was the secret wife of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia has won a multimillion-pound payout at the High Court in London.
Judge Mr Justice Peter Smith said that 68-year-old Janan Harb's claim that she met the king's son, Prince Abdul Aziz, in 2003 at London's Dorchester Hotel when the king was seriously ill ahead of his death in 2005 was credible. The court ruled that she was entitled to more than £15m ($23m), plus the £10m value of two west London flats which she claimed Aziz promised her at the meeting, when the prince allegedly said she would be looked after for the rest of her life.
She claims that she was secretly married to the king in 1968, when she was 19, before he ascended to the throne. In a written statement the prince denied both the meeting and the financial deal. The case could now go to the Court of Appeal.
Harb told the court that members of the Saudi royal family were opposed to the relationship as she was from a Palestinian Christian family. She said that she converted to Islam shortly before their marriage, and was made to have three abortions by the future king, who was concerned about the reaction of his family if he were to have a child with a woman from her background.
During the hearing, the judge ordered Prince Abdul Aziz to testify at court, but he refused, claiming his attendance would result in a media circus, and was fined £25,000, which he was ordered to pay to a charity.
Following the decade-long battle to claim the money, Harb said in a statement, "Thank God we have British justice. The prince wanted me to go to Saudi Arabia where he would have had power over all this. This is a very difficult case. I really thank the judge so much. He was so understanding."