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August 15, 2022updated 17 Aug 2022 5:16am

What are the largest ever divorce settlements in the UK?

By Rory Sachs

Following the High Court’s decision that Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum should pay over £500 million to Princess Haya following the couple’s high profile split, Spear’s takes a look at some of the largest divorce settlements agreed in the UK


December 2021 saw the High Court award Princess Haya bint Hussein, a half-sister of Jordan’s King Abdullah, a record-breaking £554 million settlement against Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This included an upfront £250 million cash payment to cover lifetime security for her two children, described by Mr Justice Moor as necessary given the ‘grave risk’ to them. The proceedings made headlines globally after the High Court found the Sheikh had used hacking software to target the phones of the princess and Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, who represented her. Shackleton’s deft handling of the case earned her the title of Spear’s Family Lawyer of the Year. The payout included £1.9 million for a kitchen extension and pizza oven, while £1.3 million was earmarked for private plane travel.


In 2016 the High Court ruled that Tatiana Kirsty Roper and Swiss tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli Akhmedova should receive £453 million from Azerbaijani energy magnate and sometime politician Farkhad Akhmedov. The case was reportedly settled for £150 million in July 2021, including a cash payment of £100 million and a smattering of artworks worth £50 million. As a result of Akhmedov’s efforts to move money and assets out of his wife’s reach, Akhmedova had tried to seize the couple’s £300 million superyacht, which was originally made for Roman Abramovich. The couple met in 1989, with a divorce petition issued 25 years later by Akhmedov, who contested that the marriage had ended in earnest in the early 2000s, although the High Court did not agree. Mrs Justice Knowles said the couple were among the ‘unhappiest ever to have appeared in my courtroom’.

Kirsty Roper and Ernesto Bertarelli


Former Miss UK and pop star Kirsty Roper, who wrote All Saints’ chart-topping 2000 song ‘Black Coffee’, was last year awarded a £400 million payout after a two-decade marriage to Swiss philanthropist and biotech tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli, whose worth was recently estimated by Bloomberg to be near $30 billion. The settlement included £350 million in cash and assets as well as a £52 million mansion. Roper, who was also represented by Baroness Shackleton, was thought to have signed a prenup before marrying Bertarelli at the turn of the millennium. Her family are widely known as the manufacturers of Churchill China, based in Stoke-on-Trent.


In 2014 Jamie Cooper-Hohn was granted a post-marital payout of £337 million from Sir Chris Hohn, a third of the fortune he accumulated as a hedge-fund manager. The couple, who have four children, jointly founded and ran the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and together gave away £1 billion from their shared fortune. Hohn once described himself in court as an ‘unbelievable moneymaker’, while his legal team argued he made a ‘special contribution’ to the couple’s combined wealth. Cooper- Hohn, meanwhile, told the court she had worked long hours for their shared charitable enterprise. The couple married in 1995, after meeting as students of Harvard Business School, and divorced in 2012.

largest divorce settlements
Christina Estrada, ex wife of Sheihk Walid Juffali, was awarded one of the largest divorce settlements ever in the UK


Christina Estrada entered proceedings with the aim of securing £196 million of Sheikh Walid Juffali’s £4 billion fortune, claiming £60 million would be needed for a new London home (the duo jointly owned a converted church in Knightsbridge worth that same figure), five cars spread transatlantically and a £1 million clothes budget. Estrada also requested £40,000 annually to spend on fur coats. Overall, the former supermodel obtained assets during the split totalling around £75 million. Saudi businessman Juffali died weeks after the 2016 proceedings concluded.

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Images: Getty 

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