The Moroccan King Mohammed VI (55) usually never responds to rumors about his marriage to Lalla Salma. Even when the princess turned out missing for the past two years, there was never a statement about her absence. That is now changing: in the French-language weekly Gala, the Moroccan monarch lets his cards look for the first time.
Where is Princess Lalla Salma? The rumor mill around the wife of the Moroccan King Mohammed VI has been running at full speed in the last two years. Lalla Salma had not appeared in public since the end of 2017.
Her absence was noticeable when the king underwent heart surgery in Paris and she was missing in the family photos that were taken by his sickbed and subsequently distributed by the court. More recently, the other half of the king was also not present during the state visit of the Spanish king Felipe and his wife Letizia, nor during the visit of the British prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The absence triggered a flood of messages and rumors, mentioning a possible separation between Lalla Salma and Mohammed, who wanted to keep the royal family hidden from the outside world at all costs.
The Moroccan court has never issued a statement about the ‘disappearance’ of Lalla Salma. But now King Mohammed VI lets his cards look, though through his French lawyer Eric Dupond-Moretti. “The articles that suggest that the family is separate are no longer bearable,” says the lawyer in Gala. “The rumors come from foreign sites that spread false information for malicious purposes. But be sure that these acts are a criminal form of defamation.”
The lawyer, who argues for respect for the royal family and says he wants to restore the truth once and for all, is furious about the comparisons made between Lalla Salma and other princesses. After all, the Moroccan princess is compared to the fleeing princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, wife of Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, Emir of Dubai. She too was supposed to be separated from her husband and had to flee and go into hiding in the British capital for fear of her life. “The comparisons are based on nothing, other than the fact that they are two princesses,” said Eric Dupond-Moretti.
The French lawyer further states that King Mohammed VI and Lalla Salma “condemn and deny all rumors about their children.” It would have been known earlier that Lalla Salma would have quietly begun a new life in Greece, according to local media in a villa on the island of Kea. Nevertheless, she would still regularly stay in Morocco, where she arranges a meeting with one of her children at a secret location.
Although the royal couple has two children – the 16-year-old Prince Moulay El Hassan and the 12-year-old Princess Lalla Khadija – Mohammed VI would have forbidden the Lalla Salma from seeing their two children together to ensure that they were not taking flight. “Mohammed VI and Lalla Salma find these gossip unbearable and deny them strictly and formally. They feel scandalized by these extremely serious claims.”