Reports surfaced last month stating that King Mohammed of Morocco and Princess Lalla Salma had divorced. The Royal Court has yet to confirm the break-up officially, but sources close to the palace have confirmed the news to Spanish media.
Now that Princess Lalla Salma, who will turn 40 in May, is reportedly no longer the wife of the monarch, what does her future hold? It is unchartered waters as no Moroccan king has divorced before.
Lalla Salma, born Salma Bennani, has not been seen in public in months. Her last public appearance was in December 2017 when she visited the Mohammed VI Museum in Rabat. She usually keeps a low profile, but she has been more in the public eye than any of her predecessors.
It is believed she will stay out of the public eye now that she’s no longer a member of the Moroccan Royal Family. We may not see her at any more engagements – even those related to her cancer charity, The Lalla Salma Foundation. It also remains a mystery as to how much influence Lalla Salma will have, even in her namesake foundation, and if she will be allowed to continue her role as a goodwill ambassador for the World Health Organization (WHO). Lalla Salma may not be allowed to have any sort of public position by the Royal Court. Images of her will also begin to be taken down in government buildings and other locations and don’t expect her to speak out on the divorce. It will remain very quiet.
Additionally, it is believed that the King, who is not a constitutional monarch, will be granted full custody of their two children, 14-year-old Crown Prince Moulay Hassan and 11-year-old Princess Lalla Khadija. The amount of time she spends with them from here on out could be limited.
We do not know if she will retain her title and style as the mother of the future king. Princess Muna of Jordan was allowed to keep her title after divorcing King Hussein; Muna is the mother of King Abdullah of Jordan. Neither the Royal Court or the Moroccan media will discuss the topic; all information comes from the French or Spanish press.
King Mohammed’s ex-wife holds degrees in engineering and computer sciences, so she could, in theory, begin working in those fields as a private citizen.
Netty Leistra, a royal journalist, said, “I think Salma had a very hard job trying to be the first visible wife of a Moroccan king. There is quite an age gap too. Salma did some good things and of course, gave birth to two children. I always thought she did rather well. I guess that if the news is correct about the divorce, they will give her a nice big house and all the money she needs so that she won’t say anything about it. But I think it is rather sad if it is true.”
Spanish royal journalist for Look/Ok Diario, Andrea Mori, agreed with Netty and stated, “After speaking with a friend in Morocco, she said it is likely Lalla Salma will be given money and will be put out of sight. But nothing is for sure…it is a very difficult situation. Everything has to be managed very carefully.”
Royal historian, Marlene Koenig, shared her opinion saying, “There is no precedent because she was the first consort to be seen publicly and have a role. It is very telling that she has not been seen since December.”
Lalla Salma is highly popular in Morocco with one Moroccan telling Royal Central last year that she was “a true princess, exactly what a princess should be.”
To know what is truly in Princess Lalla Salma’s future, we will have to wait and see. No doubt she will remain very popular in Morocco.