‘We’re just like any other family’
Princess Haya opens up on life as a mother, wife and humanitarian
The morning school run in Dubai can get pretty monotonous. Traffic congestion, kids in the back seat ignoring your questions, average music on the airwaves.
But yesterday morning’s drive will be one I remember for some time.
As the Kris Fade Show team on Virgin 104.4 announced they had a ‘big’ interview coming up, I assumed it would be another pop star.
So when the voice of HH Princess Haya bint Hussein, wife of UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, came on air, I was somewhat surprised – and very quickly mesmerised.
She proceeded to give a wonderfully candid interview, covering her work as a UN messenger for peace and chairperson of International Humanitarian City and her life as a mother and wife.
World leaders and their families are rightly guarded, but Princess Haya was humble, modest and open, offering us a unique insight into family life and an “average day” in the royal household.
“We’re up around 6.156.30… the kids are up and ready to go to school,” she told Kris Fade.
“We have breakfast together when we can and either myself or His Highness try to do the school run.” Princess Haya insisted she was just like any other working mother in Dubai and beyond, adding: “At 5.30pm, it’s quite strict, we have dinner time in our house, especially on school nights. I like to be there to do the bath and bed routine with my children. “After they go to bed at 7.30 at night there are one or two hours for ourselves... Normally I’m in bed at 9:30-10pm and then it’s next day – pretty much like everyone else!”
It was one of many poignant moments in a touching interview with the extremely downto-earth royal.
The conversation started with discussion about Princess Haya’s humanitarian work.
She spoke of the recent airlift of aid to hurricane-hit Haiti and described why Dubai has become so significant in aid work.
“We have a huge amount of warehouses and we stock all the aid that most agencies want to move around the world, because they know that they can move at great speed from Dubai and we can get things done quickly.
“So in the case of Haiti… the World Food
Programme said we have an urgent shipment that we need to send to Haiti and the UN called us and asked if we can move it in time.
“To move 90 tonnes to Haiti, which is pretty far outside our normal vector, is a mark of what Sheikh Mohammed has created,” she explained.
“The tragedies that are happening all around the world are so diverse and so heart-wrenching, it’s a huge honour for me to be involved in something like this but also to see what Dubai facilitates and the message of tolerance and understanding from this city is amazing.”
Princess Haya also spoke about her husband and her pride in his work. “He amazes me every day,” she admitted. “He has such an ability to unlock the best potential in people. And it’s people from every different walk of society and from every nationality.
“People come here to Dubai and the UAE because they feel this is a place where they can fulfill their potential.
“It’s a ‘can-do’ attitude all around the country and... an incredible recipe. HH Sheikh Mohammed amazes me and the UAE amazes me too.
“It would be nice if I could keep up to be honest,” she added, laughing.
FAMILY TIME: HH Sheikh Mohammed with HH Princess Haya and their children. Far right, Princess Haya shares a cute family snap on Instagram and below,
inset Princess Haya with the UN