Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum will in future not be invited to the Royal Box at Ascot as the Queen attempts to distance herself from Dubai’s ruler.© Steve Parsons/PA Queen Elizabeth meets HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (left) at the finish of the Royal Windsor Endurance at the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Castle, London – Steve Parsons/PA
The move is part of an attempt to ensure the Queen is not seen in public with Sheikh Mohammed after a judge ruled he had ordered the hacking of phones belonging to his ex-wife and the Tory peer who acts as her lawyer.
The Queen has frequently played host to the 72-year-old Sheikh, including invitations to join her in the Royal box at Ascot.
The Sheikh, who has gifted the Queen racehorses in the past, has also arrived with the monarch in the Royal carriage, sitting opposite her.
The Telegraph understands that the Sheikh will not receive an invitation again as a guest of Her Majesty at Royal Ascot, the highlight of the flat racing calendar, despite his huge investment in the sport. Buckingham Palace did not comment.
Royal sources did not dispute the suggestion, with aides keen for the Queen not to be photographed in public with Sheikh Mohammed.© Provided by The Telegraph Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during day five of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse – Mike Egerton/PA
In a judgment published on Wednesday, Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division, found the Sheikh had committed a “total abuse of trust, and indeed an abuse of power” by targeting “unlawfully” with “sophisticated spyware” phones belonging to Princess Haya, his 47-year-old former wife, and Baroness Shackleton, Britain’s foremost divorce lawyer who was made a Conservative peer in 2010.
Princess Haya, the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan, has been given permission by the judge to hand over Sir Andrew’s findings to the Metropolitan, Thames Valley and Surrey police force as well as the National Crime Agency.
The judge ruled that the Sheikh had authorised the hacking, using Pegasus software developed by an Israeli intelligence company.
A legal insider familiar with the case told The Telegraph that Sheikh Mohammed’s reputation had been left in tatters.
Sheikh Mohammed had brought the legal action in the first place in an attempt to have the two children he had with princess haya returned to Dubai after she had fled to the UK in 2019. He has now dropped seeking a “summary return” of the children.
The legal source said: “The Queen cannot hobnob with the Sheikh now. His reputation has been trashed – totally, totally trashed and all because of his own actions. He brought the original application. It is the greatest own goal in legal history.”
Almost 1,000 pages of legal documents were released after media organisations – including The Telegraph – won a legal battle to be able to report the case, a move initially opposed by Sheikh Mohammed.
Source: The Telegraph