Taking a look at Princess Haya of Jordan as she turns 50

By TMF95 - CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Princess Haya bint Hussein of Jordan was born on 3 May 1974 as the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and his third wife, Queen Alia. From her father’s four marriages, she has nine half-siblings, one full sibling, and one adopted sibling. Her mother died in a helicopter crash when Princess Haya was almost three years old.

Princess Haya received her education in the United Kingdom, where she attended Badminton School and Bryanston School. She earned a BA honours degree in philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) from St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

She is an accomplished equestrian and began riding internationally when she was just 13 years old. She qualified for the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics in showjumping and also carried Jordan’s flag. In 2007, she became a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). She is also a member of the Honorary Board of the International Paralympic Committee.

She became a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme and founded an NGO named Tkiyet Um Ali to help overcome local hunger. She was later appointed UN Messenger of Peace and was a founding member of the Global Humanitarian Forum.

On 10 April 2004, she married Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, as his second and junior wife. Their first child, Sheikha Al Jalila bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was born on 2 December 2007. Their second child, Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was born on 7 January 2012.

In 2019, her husband divorced her under Sharia law, although she was not informed of this. On 15 April, she left Dubai with her children to live in the United Kingdom, where court proceedings were begun by her husband for the return of the children. Princess Haya requested that her children be made Wards of Court and asked for a forced marriage protection order for her daughter and a non-molestation order. The court also considered the situation of Sheikha Shamsa and Sheikha Latifa, her husband’s daughters from his first marriage, who were found on the balance of probabilities to have been the victim of orchestrated abductions.1

Princess Haya was granted full custody of her children at the end of 2012 and received a large settlement. She now lives in London as an envoy of the Jordanian Embassy, which gives her diplomatic immunity.

  1. The Guardian

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