Queen Elizabeth II has come under pressure to ditch her friendship with Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as he is found to be violating human rights once again.
UK High Court recently found that Sheikh Mohammed, who has previously been accused of organising the abduction of his own daughters among other such crimes, was also responsible for illegal phone hacking in England. The billionaire businessman hatched a sinister phone hacking operation just to spy on his wife Princess Haya, who had fled to Britain from Dubai in 2019 for fear for her and her children's lives. He hacked into her iPhone and was also able to snoop on the parliamentary emails of Tory peer and former royal lawyer Fiona Shackleton, of whom Haya was a client, reports Mail Online.
The Sheikh also tried to buy a £30m English manor house on "the most expensive field in Britain," just to spy on Haya who was living next door in her Surrey bolt home with their two children, Princess Jalila, 13, and Prince Zayed, nine.
The High Court judge heard that Princess Haya is "fully" justified in fearing that her children will be snatched from their country home by her estranged husband's henchmen in a helicopter, given his alleged similar actions in the past. The royal has been accused of orchestrating the armed kidnapping of his runaway daughter Princess Shamsa from Cambridgeshire in 2000. Most recently, videos emerged of another of his daughters, Princess Latifa, in which she claimed that she is being kept under house arrest and her multiple attempts to flee Dubai have been thwarted by Emirati officers.
Princess Haya, daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and his third wife Queen Alia, and the half-sister of King Abdullah II, is the sixth wife of the Dubai ruler. Sheikh Mohammed, who is credited for transforming Dubai into a highly successful city. He has been married six times; first to his 17-year-old cousin who bore 12 of his 30 children.
He has been a long-standing friend of Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family, and is often pictured with her at horse racing events. The Queen is now facing pressure to not continue her association with the controversial ruler.
Royal expert Richard Kay wrote, "the revelations that the man who has been photographed in the Royal Box at Ascot and shared a carriage drive with the Queen down the famous course also sanctioned an illegal phone hacking operation on British soil to snoop on his wife and her lawyers, who include a Conservative peer, go far beyond mere embarrassment. They have triggered a potential crisis in Britain's bilateral relationship with the United Arab Emirates, of which the sheikh is both vice president and prime minister."
Joe Little, the managing editor of Majesty magazine, said that the British monarch would definitely distance herself a bit from the Sheikh due to the allegations against him. "Despite the Queen's well-established equestrian links with the sheikh, in light of these findings it seems likely that she will distance herself from him, at least in public. The Queen has known Princess Haya since she was a child and is fond of her," he said.
However, one royal source said that it's a "tricky" situation as the UAE are a key ally of the UK. "I suspect the Queen's reaction will be determined by how the Government decides to handle this," the insider suggested.
Meanwhile, the sheikh continued to refute the reports despite the latest High Court ruling, and said, "I have always denied the allegations made against me and I continue to do so. These matters concern supposed operations of state security."
"As a head of government involved in private family proceedings, it was not appropriate for me to provide evidence on such sensitive matters either personally or via my advisers in a foreign court. Neither the Emirate of Dubai nor the UAE are party to these proceedings and they did not participate in the hearing," the 72-year-old added.