Revealed: Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tried to buy a £30m English manor house on ‘the most expensive field in Britain’ – just to spy on his runaway wife in her Surrey bolt hole next door, High Court hears
Sheikh Mohammed’s associates secretly tried to purchase a £30million-plus English manor house on ‘the most expensive field in Britain’ – just to spy on his fugitive wife in her luxurious refuge next door, the High Court heard.
Princess Haya said she felt ‘hunted and haunted’ in her 12-bedroom mansion Castlewood House in Surrey as her billionaire ex-husband ‘stalked’ her with the attempted purchase of neighbouring Parkwood estate, it is claimed.
Haya also discovered four other properties in the area had been purchased on behalf of the Dubai ruling family.
Last November, she asked the High Court to impose a large exclusion zone around her home, which is on the edge of Windsor Great Park, to stop the Sheikh or his henchmen coming near.
In response the sheikh – a horse race-loving friend of the Queen – complained it would impede his access to Windsor Castle and Ascot racecourse.
The next day, Princess Haya’s team reduced the proposed zone to an area around 100 metres of Castlewood, and this was granted by the judge.
The Sheikh’s associates secretly tried to snap up English manor house Parkwood on ‘the most expensive field in Britain’, the HIgh Court heard
The Parkwood Estate, set deep in the heart of the Surrey countryside, includes a picturesque lake and formal gardens
Haya’s QC Charles Geekie told the court Parkwood was ‘in a prime position for direct or electronic surveillance of the Castlewood home – it could not be closer’
At 77 acres, Parkwood was dubbed Britain’s most expensive plot when it went on the market in 2014 for £30million, a figure which doubtless will have increased since.
Plans were approved for a huge 10-bedroom home costing £15m, with estimates that the whole estate would be worth more than £100m.
It is not known if the house was eventually built.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were among those said to have been interested in the estate at the time.
It includes a manor house, a picturesque lake and formal gardens – yet the sheikh’s interest was apparently based solely on its location.
He wanted a base for his surveillance teams to spy on next-door Castlewood House, the home-in-exile of his former wife and their two children, Princess Jalila, 13, and Prince Zayed, nine, her lawyers told the High Court.
But the billionaire, who owns properties and racehorses in England, said the proposed no-go zone of several miles was a serious curtailment of his freedom and would hinder him visiting places such as Windsor Castle. He has previously been a regular there, to take tea with the Queen.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (left) hacked phones to snoop on his runway wife Princess Haya (right) after she fled to London, the High Court has found
His lawyers also listed Ascot racecourse, Windsor Great Park, the Guards Polo Club – which they said hosted ‘many important polo events’ – and the Royal Chapel of All Saints, ‘which is regularly used by Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family for royal weddings’.
Lord Pannick QC, for the sheikh, said in a written submission: ‘The father may want or need to travel to any number of these locations’, and branded the proposed exclusion zone draconian and unjustified.
The next day, Princess Haya’s team reduced the proposed zone to ban the sheikh and his associates from coming within 100 metres of Castlewood, and this was granted by the judge.
Sir Andrew’s ‘non molestation order’ dated November 26 last year also bans Sheikh Maktoum from buying Parkwood or any other properties in the vicinity.
Lord Pannick told the court there was never any evidence of the sheikh being in proximity to Castlewood, he never had any intention of living in Parkwood and the orders were ‘unprecedented and unnecessary’.
But the judge said Princess Haya was ‘entirely justified in saying that she feels mightily intimidated and frightened’.
At 77 acres, Parkwood was dubbed Britain’s most expensive plot when it went on the market in 2014 for £30million, a figure which doubtless will have increased since
Plans were approved for a huge 10-bedroom home costing £15m, with estimates that the whole estate would be worth more than £100m