‘We’re just like any other fam­ily’

Princess Haya opens up on life as a mother, wife and hu­man­i­tar­ian

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Barry King @Bazk­ing8 barry.king@7days.ae

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

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