Years of the disappearance of Lalla Salma, a ghost in Rabat

After Lalla Salma’s stellar takeoff, the bright red-haired princess quickly became a favorite of Western journalists because she, it seems, not only broke out of the narrow framework created for women in the Muslim world but also had a beneficial effect on her husband. There were histories about her jewelry and outfits. Two children and a long-term happy marriage seemed to illustrate a simple truth: real Cinderella exists in our world, but a few years ago, the princess of Morocco suddenly disappeared. She stopped appearing at formal meetings and gave up her own charity programs. Her husband’s silence only added fuel to the fire.

According to the classical canons, this tale began: the daughter of a teacher from Fez was left without a mother early and was brought up by her grandmother. However, the Lalla family is an influential Benani clan in Morocco, so she got the opportunity to work for her future herself. The family’s wealth allowed the girl to attend a private school in Rabat and receive an excellent education – Lalla Salma became a bachelor of mathematical sciences and then graduated from the Higher School of Informatics and Systems Analysis. The girl trained at the largest private corporation in Morocco, Omnium North Africa, and then got a job there as an engineer when one important meeting took place in her life.

The journalists were unable to find out the details of how the king of Morocco met his “Cinderella”, but most likely, it happened at a closed corporate event. Part of the company’s shares belongs to the royal family, so such a meeting was possible. One way or another, but on March 21, 2002, a magnificent wedding took place. Salma was 24 years old, and the king was 39. Mohammed VI is, by the way, one of the richest people in Africa and, as befits eastern rulers, he does not hide his wealth: more than six hundred cars, twelve palaces in Morocco and a castle in France – only “the top iceberg ”of his fabulous wealth.

The first steps of the new wife showed that Lalla Salma would not repeat the usual fate of Moroccan women, who are often not shown in public. Even an openly published wedding photo in the media was a new step for a closed country living under strict patriarchal laws. Apparently, marriage to a developed and active woman corresponded to the aspirations of Mohammed himself – by that time, the king had recently ascended the throne. He immediately carried out a series of progressive reforms.

It has been three years since Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco disappeared. Formerly announced in various European countries, including Italy, Greece, and even in the United States, the former wife of King Mohammed VI, who currently resides in Morocco, is nowhere to be found.

If there is one page that is difficult for Moroccans to turn, it is that of Princess Lalla Salma, the alleged ex-wife of King Mohammed VI. Since the speculations of their divorce were announced in 2018, the queen of the royal palace disappeared. To the point that speculations, some crazier than the others, are emerging. Indeed, each emanated from its point of view, for lack of official information.

On this subject, the royal palace never wanted to communicate on the issue. The king had kept the absolute silence on the very sensitive subject. Typical that the following of the sovereign do the same. It is indeed a matter of the monarch’s privacy, a red line for the Moroccan press. And if some newspapers have dared to mention the subject, which they have only brushed off, it was to cast shame on Princess Lalla Salma, qualified by all names.

Because she is separated from King Mohammed VI, Lalla Salma was indeed dragged through the mud. Who would’ve believed that! What newspaper would dare to cast shame on any member of the royal family, whether Lalla Hasnaa, Lalla Meryem, or even the king’s niece, Lalla Soukaina in particular, without suffering the wrath of the royal authorities? This was possible with Lalla Salma as she is no longer the king’s wife. Today, this ex-wife of the sovereign has completely disappeared for three years.

Lalla became the first public woman on the Moroccan throne

Even the fact that the identity of the king’s wife did not begin to hide from the public was already unusual for this country. Lalla became the first public woman on the Moroccan throne. The second innovation was that Mohammed VI declared her his only wife – all the rulers before him had several wives. A lot was clearly changing in the country: in the very first years of the new millennium, the young king tried to somewhat correct the consequences of the extremely harsh rule of his father: he held several amnesties for political prisoners, fired the Minister of Internal Affairs, who was distinguished by a penchant for repression and established a special Commission on Justice and Reconciliation, which was supposed to understand the facts of human rights violations in Morocco over the past 50 years.

The king’s wife was actively involved in charitable programs and did a lot to improve people’s lives in her country. So Lalla Salma became the real first lady of Morocco. Her meetings with the leaders of Western countries only confirmed the fact that the king was not mistaken with the choice of his wife: a bright and intelligent woman, unusual for Moroccan politics, immediately became a favorite of the media around the world. The king’s wife became a real envoy of her own people in other countries and took part in the activities of UNESCO.

After a happy 15 years of marriage, the couple had two children. In 2003, the couple born Crown Prince Moulay Hasan, in 2007 – Princess Lalla Khadija. During all this time, rumors of a quarrel in the royal family never penetrated the press, so the sudden disappearance of the princess was a complete surprise.

Starting in 2017, Lalla Salma stopped appearing at public events and abandoned her own charities. The king and his entourage did not answer journalists’ questions for a long time, which gave rise to a lot of rumors and guesses. Some launched an investigation to discover what happened to the princess, but no reliable information appeared. Different versions were discussed – from unsuccessful plastic surgery to secret murder.

Over the past three years, the situation with the “missing princess” has changed only slightly. In 2018, the Spanish press spread a rumor that Lalla Salma and Mohammed VI had divorced, but this fact raises doubts – according to various sources, the king himself either confirmed this information a year later or not – different options are expressed. The journalists managed to seize several times the traces of the “ghost princess”, when in 2019 she visited the cancer center that existed under her patronage, another time she was allegedly seen with children in New York, surrounded by guards, but the situation of this does not in the least clarify.

One of the last unofficial photographs of Lalla Salma taken in New York

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.”

Moroccan Princess Lalla Salma was seen in 2019 in public for the second time in a week and a half. She paid an (unofficial) visit to a hospital in Beni Mellal, where she was satisfied with the staff.
©Instagram/@laayoune_medina – Moroccan Princess Lalla Salma was seen in 2019 in public for the second time in a week and a half. She paid an (unofficial) visit to a hospital in Beni Mellal, where she was satisfied with the staff.

Despite the various announcements of her presence in such and such a place, no Moroccan has, to date, laid eyes on the princess to be able to confirm her presence in the kingdom. However, it is said that she is in Rabat and that if Moulay El Hassan refused to attend the Polytechnic University Mohammed VI of Ben Guerir, it is to remain in Rabat, near his mother, Lalla Salma. The life of women in the East is still a real mystery to the Western world.

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