We all know getting divorced is a costly exercise, which is why Willie Nelson once famously quipped: “You know why divorces are so expensive? Because they’re worth it.” While that might be true for the most part, there’s a limit to the sentiment’s validity… right about the ten-figure mark. And that billion-dollar number is exactly where the Dubai royal family is at in their current divorce settlement.
Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and his ex-wife Princess Haya bint al-Hussein are parting ways, resulting in one of the most jaw-dropping court orders of all time. The Sheikh has been compelled by a London court to pay his ex-wife a total of £554 million (AU$1.024 billion); beginning with an amount of £251.5 million within the first three months, which includes lifetime security costs of Princess Haya. The Sheikh reportedly must also pay a recurring annual sum of £1 million for the security of their two children.
The long-fought settlement – which has also, unfortunately, included a custody battle over their two children – offers a rare glimpse into the almost unimaginable wealth of the royal family, and how they spend it. Here’s a breakdown of just a few of the payments outlined by Justice Philip Moor.
Family Holidays & Leisure
It was revealed that while the Sheikh and Haya were still married, they enjoyed an Italian summer holiday that cost £631,000, as well as a trip to Greece where the hotel bill alone tallied £274,000. Just this year, Haya spent £397,421 on holidays within the UK, which included £77,770 on holiday security. Following the divorce, the judge ruled Haya was entitled to £5.1 million a year for holidays, including:
- £1 million for hiring private planes
- £1 million for hotels and food
- £1 million to spend on leisure
- £277,050 a year for spending on pets (£25,000 for horses, £12,000 for their grooming & training)
Jewellery & Clothing
As you’d expect from royalty, Haya had an incredible collection of haute couture and high jewellery, worth an estimated €74 million. As compensation for the collection, Haya requested £52 million from the judge.
“If you put all the pieces in that room spread across this courtroom, it would be full,” says Haya.
“I was spoiled with wonderful gifts which I enjoyed very, very much at the time.”
While not quite the full £52 million, Justice Moor ordered the Sheikh to pay a total of £20.9 million for personal possessions:
- £13.7 million for jewellery
- £1 million for haute couture clothing
In 2016, Haya purchased a London home that once belonged to Prince William and his wife for £87.5 million (now valued at nearly £100 million).
“We always kept it to a very high standard and that is the amount needed to keep it as it is now,” Haya said. The judge ordered the following payments:
- £10 million for a decade long refurbishment
- £500,000 for wear and tear
- £223,000 for the maintenance costs
Haya requested payment for the upkeep of another home to the west of London, which had been left to her by her late father, King Hussein of Jordan. The judge awarded:
- £125,000 annually for wear & tear
- £200,000 per year towards a 10-year refurbishment
Middle Eastern royalty are well-known for their love of racehorses, and Haya claimed in court that she had more than 400 different horses race for her over the years. She requested £75 million to compensate her for the horses she still owned; which the Sheikh contested, stating the horses were owned by his family’s Godolphin horse racing stable. Judge Moor sided with the Sheikh, ruling that nothing was owed relating to the horses.
Yes, the numbers are incredible, which is why the case is believed to be the largest post-divorce financial settlement in English history. So while your divorce might have cost a mint, just be glad it wasn’t from Dubai royalty.