London: A British judge on Tuesday ordered a huge financial payout for a woman who claims she was the "secret wife" of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia.
Judge Peter Smith ruled that Palestinian-born Janan Harb, 68, should receive more than 15 million pounds (USD23 million) and two expensive apartments in London's Chelsea neighborhood that had been promised her.
The High Court judge said her claim to having been promised a financial settlement by one of the king's sons was "credible."
Harb had told the court she secretly married the king in 1968 when he was still a prince. She testified that he had promised to look after her financially for the rest of her life. Harb had told the court the king's family opposed their marriage because she was a Christian. She converted to Islam right before the marriage.
Her testimony indicated she had been promised the financial settlement by Prince Abdul Aziz, the son of another of the king's wives, when he met with her at London's posh Dorchester Hotel in 2003 when the king was seriously ill.
The court did not rule on whether she and the king had ever married, but on whether the prince had promised her a cash settlement and the luxury London properties.
The prince denied the assertion in written statements, but refused to testify in person or be cross-examined, earning a contempt of court citation. He was ordered to make a 25,000 pound charity donation.
The judge told the prince's lawyer his case had been severely damaged by the prince's refusal to appear because the case revolved around whether his or Harb's statements were believable. He also criticized Harb for her lavish lifestyle and gambling debts.
Harb said she was "very relieved" by the decision Tuesday and criticized the prince for not honoring his father's wishes.
"This has been 12 years of misery for me. I am very happy with British justice," Harb said.
The prince's lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment.