The wife of Dubai’s ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has left him — and taken £31million to start a new life, it is understood.
Princess Haya, who had not been seen since February, is said to have fled to Germany with her son and daughter.
She is understood to have immediately requested asylum and filed for divorce from her husband.
But it has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Germany and the United Arab Emirates, where the Sheik is vice-president and prime minister as well as being the ruler of the city of Dubai.
He is said to have asked authorities in Berlin to return the princess, 45, son Zayed, seven, and daughter Al Jalila, 11, to the UAE.
But they have refused and security officials are said to be protecting her.
Princess Haya is said to have told friends she chose to flee to Germany as she “didn’t trust UK authorities to hand her back”. The Sheikh, 69, worth more than £9billion, is a keen racehorse owner.
But he missed this month’s Epsom Derby for the first time in 28 years. In days, two of his stables used to train showjump horses, near Newmarket, Suffolk, had shut.
A local source said: “Show jumping was her passion. She was always there, very hands on. Then one day she was gone.”