Tiina Jauhiainen tried to help her best friend leave her stifling, traditional existence as the daughter of Dubais ruler. But in a dramatic intervention at sea, the princess was returned to the UAE. A year on, Jauhiainen is campaigning for Latifas freedom
I wish Id said something to her when they were taking her away, says Tiina Jauhiainen, looking down at her now cold tea. We are in a cafe in central London, but Jauhiainens mind is 5,000 miles away in the Arabian sea, reliving the night of 4 March 2018, when she attempted to help her best friend escape from her family. There were guns everywhere. Latifa was screaming and kicking. But I was paralysed with fear. I couldnt say a word. She pauses. I just wish that Id said, Im sorry this has failed. That Id told her I love her.
That was the last time that Jauhiainen, 42, saw Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, the 33-year-old daughter of Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. The women were captured and separately taken back to Dubai the emirate from which they had been trying to escape. But while Jauhiainen was released after a fortnight, Latifas whereabouts are still unknown.
This week is the first anniversary of the escape. The women fled Dubai via car, dinghy and yacht, with the goal of making it to India. From there, Latifa could fly to the US and claim asylum. The escape attempt had been planned over seven years.
People think: Shes a princess, how bad could her life be? says Jauhiainen. She did have access to money, but that was just a distraction from her reality. She wasnt allowed to study, to work, to travel or even to go to a friends house. She had curfews. She was treated like a child. She used to get depressed if she had to spend a day at home. She didnt even call her home a home. She called it a house and hated it.
If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.
And ... Don't forget to have fun!