Mrs Janan Harb claimed to have been secretly married to King Fahd, the late King of Saudi Arabia. She was 19 years old at the time and he was a mere Prince.
Following the marriage Mrs Harb said she had been promised £12million and 2 apartments.
Several years later Mrs Harb was forced to leave Saudi Arabia due to her unhappy relationship with the King’s family. She began proceedings in London in 2004, to recover the riches she had been promised but the claim was dismissed by the High Court on the grounds of State immunity. This is the legal principle whereby Heads of Sovereign States are exempt from legal process in other countries (section 20 (1) State Immunity Act 1978 and section 2 Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964).
Mrs Harb appealed the decision but the King died before the proceedings reached conclusion.
In 2009 Mrs Harb brought fresh proceedings against the King’s son, Prince Abdul Aziz, on the grounds that there had been a breach of contract (she stated that the sum in question had been promised to her by the Prince on behalf of his father) and that State immunity did not pass to the Prince and ended on the death of his father.
The parties had already agreed that the financial agreement (allegedly between Mrs Harb and the King) would be a private act of the King and not one that was pursuant to his official function and title.
The Court held that post death, State immunity, could not be claimed by the Prince in order to defeat proceedings relating to a private Act. State immunity afforded during life clearly applied to the King but on death it would only extend to his official functions and not to private matters. Mrs Harb will now proceed with her claim. She is now in her 60s and has indicated that she holds the ultimate card. Failure to receive a payment will lead to her cooperating in the making of a film about her romance and life with the Saudi Royal family!