- The Queen accepted racehorses from Sheikh Mohammed, the Emir of Dubai, The Times reported.
- The Sheikh is accused of imprisoning his daughter, Princess Latifa, after she tried to escape.
- One of his wives, Princess Haya, said she fled Dubai for London after learning of Latifa’s plight.
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Queen Elizabeth II accepted gifts from the ruler of Dubai in the wake of allegations that he abducted and tortured his daughter, The Times of London reported Sunday.
Buckingham Palace received nine racehorses from Godolphin Racing, a stable owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, from April 2019, The Times said.
That same month, the Sheikh’s youngest wife, Princess Haya, had fled Dubai for London with her children, saying she feared for her life after hearing allegations that her husband had tortured and imprisoned Princess Latifa, one of his other children.
Insider contacted Buckingham Palace and the government of Dubai for comment about the gifts.
Princess Haya and Sheikh Mohammed are seen attending the 2017 Epsom Derby.
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images
The Queen and Sheikh Mohammed have been close for decades, bonding over a shared love of horse racing.
However, the relationship came under scrutiny after it was claimed that Sheikh Mohammed abused his daughter and threatened his wife.
In February 2018, one of the Sheikh’s children, Princess Latifa, fled Dubai by boat with the help of her martial arts instructor and a self-styled former French spy.
Emirati commandos captured their boat off the coast of India, and Latifa was returned to Dubai. In a pre-recorded video released after her capture, Latifa said she escaped because she had been beaten and tortured on her father’s orders.
In February 2021, a number of new videos of Latifa were shared with the BBC. In the videos, Latifa said she was still being detained in a “villa prison” by police as a result of her escape attempt.
A still from Princess Latifa’s 2018 video, entrusted to a lawyer, detailing the abuse at her father’s hands.
The fallout from the escape saw Princess Haya flee Dubai for the UK with the two children she shared with the Sheikh.
The princess sued for custody of her children upon arrival in London, and said she feared for her life after realizing that he had imprisoned Princess Latifa. She said that the Sheikh had threatened her, saying “you and the children will never be safe in England,” in May 2019.
The UK High Court said in a fact-finding judgment released in March 2020 that Sheikh Mohammed was responsible for abducting Latifa.
“I have found that he continues to maintain a regime whereby both of these two young women are deprived of their liberty,” the judge said in the ruling.
In response, Sheikh Mohammed said: “As a head of government, I was not able to participate in the court’s fact-finding process. This has resulted in the release of a ‘fact-finding’ judgment which inevitably only tells one side of the story.”
Following the ruling, The Times of London reported that the Queen planned to distance herself from the Sheikh.
The abduction of Latifa was not the first time that the Sheikh has been accused of mistreating his children. In 2000, Sheikha Shamsa, Latifa’s sister, fled her family’s English country estate in a Range Rover when she was 18.
She was caught and sent to Dubai.
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