Dubai’s Princess Latifa pictured ‘on holiday’ at Spanish airport 

A Dubai princess who has been the subject of concern from a United Nations panel after being seized trying to flee the sheikhdom in 2018 has appeared in a social media post that described her as being in Spain on a European holiday.

n Instagram image published by a woman identified in British media as former Royal Navy member Sioned Taylor shows Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum at Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport.

Ms Taylor’s caption, punctuated by a smiley face emoji, read: “Great European holiday with Latifa. We’re having fun exploring!” Comments by Taylor acknowledged the location of the image, which match other images of the airport.

Asked about Sheikha Latifa, Ms Taylor wrote in another comment “she is great” with a thumbs-up emoji.

Ms Taylor posted images of Sheikha Latifa in May at two local Dubai malls as well.

The photos’ pedestrian captions belie the fact UN experts and human rights activists had called on Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to provide information on his daughter.

Sheikha Latifa, 35, had tried to flee the country in 2018 only to be detained by commandos in a boat off India.

Videos released in February by the BBC had Sheikha Latifa describing herself as being in a villa that “has been converted into a jail”.

The dramatic would-be sea escape and its aftermath intruded into the carefully controlled image maintained by the family of Sheikh Mohammed, who is believed to have several dozen children from multiple wives. Some of his sons and daughters figure prominently in local media and online, but others are rarely seen.

Sheikh Mohammed’s family life again became a public matter in 2020. Then, a British judge ruled the sheikh had conducted a campaign of fear and intimidation against his estranged wife and ordered the abduction of two of his daughters, one of them Sheikha Latifa.

The ruling came in a custody battle between Sheikh Mohammed and his estranged wife Princess Haya, the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan.

Sheikh Mohammed also serves as the vice president and prime minister of the hereditarily ruled UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula.

Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson has welcomed the decision of UN human rights experts to press the United Arab Emirates for information about the Dubai princess.

Ms Robinson, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “It is heartening to read that this is now being addressed at the appropriate level – between the UN and the government of the UAE.”

In February, Ms Robinson said she was “horribly tricked” over a photo taken of her with Princess Latifa in 2018.

At the time of the photograph, Ms Robinson had described the princess as a “troubled young woman”.

Speaking on The Late Late Show earlier this year about the incident, she said: “I made a mistake.

“I let my heart lead my head. I went to help a friend. I was naive.”

This article was updated on July 21, 2021

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