The ruler of Dubai published an online poem about “shining swords with sharp blades” on the day his estranged wife asked a British judge to make an arranged marriage protection order.
The billionaire Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 70, posted a verse online called “Swords of the Excellencies” as Princess Haya attended the High Courts of Justice in London for the start of their bitter legal battle over their two children
She was seen in public for the first time on Tuesday after fleeing United Arab Emirates (UAE) with the youngsters earlier this year while apparently “in fear for her life”.
The vice-president and prime minister of the UAE has applied to the British courts for the “summary return” of his two children from Britain.
On Tuesday afternoon - the first day of the preliminary hearing - Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the Family Courts Division, allowed the media to report how the princess was applying for a “forced marriage protection order.”
The 45-year-old Jordanian princess is also asking seeking a non-molestation order, it emerged.
As those details became public triggering headlines around the world, the sheikh, a self-proclaimed poet, posted his latest poem. The verse was uploaded at 4.06pm British time.
The sheikh has earlier published a poem which accused an unnamed woman of “treachery and betrayal”.
The verse, called ‘Live or Die’, includes the line: “You no longer have a place with me. I don’t care if you live or die.”
However, in the latest poem released on Tuesday, it has locally been interpreted as an ode to the UAE’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, or MBZ as he is known in the region.
“He (his Excellency) has shining swords with sharp blades. In their sheaths, they can cut if drawn,” he wrote on his official Instagram page. “For confronting and keeping away the enemies, he has many soldiers. He has protected heroes so that nobody will conspire against them.”
In Arabic, he appears to be speaking figuratively but it could be viewed as a veiled threat, possibly to regional enemies such as Iran or Qatar, with whom the UAE has had strained relations in recent years.
Sheikh Maktoum suggests the UAE has not shown its true power and asks what would happen if this sword were ever to be used.
The sheikh, thought to have more than 20 children by six wives, is known regularly to write poetry.
Before he and his sixth wife split earlier this year, they were often photographed together with the Queen, a friendship cultivated from their shared passion for horses.
As the founder of the Godolphin horse racing stable, the Sheikh this year received a trophy from the Queen after one of his horses won a race at Royal Ascot.
The break up - likely to result in a £4 billion divorce battle - has become increasingly acrimonious in recent months.
It is understood the Princess, the sheikh’s youngest wife, flew on a private jet with her children to the UK in April. It is not known why she left, but speculation has focused on how two of the sheikh’s children - Princess Shamsa and Princess Latifa - had tried unsuccessfully to flee the emirate.
Full details about the orders applied for and the identities of the children discussed in the two-day preliminary hearing, which ended yesterday, cannot be reported for legal reasons.
The trial is due to start properly in November.