The glamorous niece of Saudia Arabia's ruler has applied for political asylum in the UK, according to a report by The Telegraph.
Princess Sara bint Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, also known as the 'Barbie' princess because of her privileged upbringing, says she faces persecution by some family members and some of Saudi Arabia's authorities.
The princess applied for political asylum to Britain's Home Office on Friday, the BBC reports. The Home Office declined to comment on individual applications.
In a statement, the princess said:
"With deep regret, and as I have been left with no other choice, I have written to the UK Home Office to indicate that I, and my children, wish to be granted political asylum.
My reputation has been besmirched in the media by a baseless and malicious smear campaign.
For years I have endured all this in silence, while trying to resolve my situation with dignity through the normal channels, without fanfare or publicity."
The AFP reports that the 38-year-old believes that officials in her home country had plotted to kidnap her and bring her back to Saudi Arabia from London, where she has lived since 2007.
She also claims that Saudi officials have subjected her to a "well orchestrated and malicious campaign of persecution."
Speaking to Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the princess said that the cause of the rift with her family stems from a falling out with her father, Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud, known as The Red Prince.
“Everything goes back to a certain aspect that I don’t discuss in public," she said of her father. "Something happened with my father and he didn’t take it lightly. He retaliated against me and wanted to crush me. I had been his closest; I had been his favourite. It shook my world.”
The princess has been locked in a long-running inheritance battle with her brother, Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud, over their dead mother’s £325 million fortune, according to The Daily Mail.