The kidnapped Princess of Dubai, whose ordeal shocked the world, is no longer under armed guard, according to friends.
Princess Latifa al Maktoum, daughter of the emirate’s ruler, was kept under armed guard for three years after trying to flee the country.
This morning, The Mirror reported that she had been pictured for the second time in two days. The last time she showed that she seemed to be laughing with friends.
She is reportedly staying with friends after her release, hoping to leave Dubai where she can escape her father, Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum.
Photos of Latifa, 35, yesterday showed shopping at a mall in Dubai, raising hopes that she might be released.
A source told the Daily Mail that the princess has been released from her “villa prison” and is no longer under armed guard.
The friend said, “She can make contact with friends and lead a normal life.
“We are very confident that things are moving in the right direction and that she can choose what to do.
“The fact that she is no longer being held in a villa against her will is a big step forward.”
The pictures were posted on Instagram by former Royal Navy officer Suded Taylor, a friend of Latifa’s, according to the mail.
It is the first time since December 2018 that she has been seen in public.
Yesterday she wrote next to a picture apparently with Latifa in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates: “Nice evening at MoE with friends.”
It is unclear when any of the images were taken.
However, the mall that emerged on Saturday showed face masks lying on the table next to coffee cups, suggesting the photos were taken sometime during the pandemic.
Videos of Latifa were released earlier this year claiming she was a “hostage” under surveillance by security forces.
In a clip she said: “This mansion has been turned into a prison. All the windows are locked.
“There are five policemen outside and two policewomen inside. I can’t even go out to get some fresh air. So basically I’m a hostage.”
She said commands drugged her when she fled by boat and threw her back into custody when she tried to get away.
David Haigh, co-founder of the Free Latifa campaign and Detained International, told Sky on Saturday: “We acknowledge that the campaign has several potentially significant and positive developments.
We do not intend to make any further comments at this time. A further statement will be made in due course. “
Latifa’s disappearance from public life has raised concerns about her welfare after allegations that her father, leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, held her in solitary confinement.
Pals released secretly recorded video messages earlier this year claiming Latifa had been held against her will since 2018.
It is believed that commandos abducted Latifa and brought her back to her father in Dubai.
Her capture came after her sister Princess Shamsa, 39, was abducted from the streets of Cambridge 21 years ago.