Ex-Qatari princess, 45, 'died of grief' after losing custody battle

Former Qatari princess, 45, who was found dead from ‘overdose’ in Marbella ‘died of grief weeks after losing toxic custody battle with billionaire ex-husband she accused of inappropriately touching their daughter’, friends say

  • Kasia Gallanio was married to Abdelaziz bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir’s uncle
  • They share three children, but had a bitter divorce and custody battle
  • She accused her ex-husband of abusing one of their daughters, which he denies 
  • Kasia was found dead in her bed at a Marbella apartment complex on Sunday
  • Spanish authorities are understood to have launched a probe into her death

A former Qatari princess who was found dead of an ‘overdose’ in Marbella ‘died of grief’ weeks after losing a toxic custody battle with her billionaire ex-husband  – who she accused of ‘inappropriately’ touching their daughter.

Princess Kasia Gallanio, 45, the third wife of billionaire Abdelaziz bin Khalifa Al Thani, 73, was found dead from a suspected drug overdose in Marbella weeks after describing her royal life as a ‘nightmare’. 

She had also just lost a toxic custody battle over their daughters in the French courts just two weeks earlier – one of whom accused their father of sexual abuse – a claim he denies.

Police are now awaiting the results of a post mortem examination, but sources have said there were no signs of violence, The Telegraph reports.  

Ms Gallanio, who mingled with Hollywood stars and had 500,000 Instagram followers, was discovered dead on Sunday after one of her daughters alerted the Spanish police from Paris that she had been unable to contact her mother for days, El Pais reported.

The Spanish newspaper said that several officers were allowed by the doorman to enter Kasia’s apartment complex in Marbella at around 8am on Sunday.

She married the prince after he wooed her when she was a 19-year-old student in Paris and despite their 28-year age gap they went on to have three daughters.

But their romance turned sour and the pair split in 2007 before divorcing, with the former princess, now known as Kasia Gallanio, having to sell her jewellery to make money.

The former princess of Qatar who was found dead of a suspected drug overdose in Marbella opened up about her ‘nightmare’ life as a royal

Kasia Gallanio was the third wife of Abdelaziz bin Khalifa Al Thani, the uncle of the current Emir of Qatar, who previously served as an oil and finance minister (pictured around 1980)


Their separation also led to a high-profile court battle over the custody of their two twins, 17, and a third 15-year-old daughter.

She accused Mr Thani of abusing one of their daughters during proceedings.

Mr Thani denies the claim, but the allegation is being probed by French prosecutors.

Le Parisien reported that on May 19, a Paris court had dismissed Kasia’s custody demands, a decision that left her ‘devastated’, according to her lawyer. 

She had recently spent several months in hospital, with the French publication saying she was prone to suffering from nervous breakdowns and had also visited detox clinics in her battle against alcoholism.

Weeks before her death, she had also described how the transition from growing up in a normal house in the US to joining the royal family had been challenging, adding ‘more money, more problems.’

Kasia, who was of Polish origin, also spoke out about her turbulent relationship with the former oil and finance minister.

She said in an interview on April 17 her current life was like living in a ‘golden cage’, wanting freedom from her ex-husband who she claimed was refusing to pay child support.

She told Women’s World: ‘Money is a curse because it isolates you from a lot of people. It’s a different world.

‘I grew up in a normal household so it was a completely different world… I grew up in the States and coming into the Royal Family as an American was something completely new. 

‘There’s the saying, more money, more problems…’

The former princess revealed she even had to sell her own jewellery as a result of their long and bitter divorce, despite living in a luxury Marbella villa.

She said: ‘I get criticised that I want money but I have to take care of my kids

‘Abdelaziz likes to control me through the children which I think is not very polite and only hurts them.’

Kasia also discussed how she fell for the prince, despite their 28-year age gap, when she was a student abroad in Paris.

The former princess of Qatar (pictured) has been found dead in her Marbella home aged 45 amid an ugly custody battle with her ex-husband

She said: ‘I went to Paris by accident, it was a break from my university, I was a third wheel of my friend who was dating a French banker.

‘He said I have to pass by my client’s house to get some paperwork signed, I said OK and we went to this house which was absolutely stunning

‘He revealed, this is the prince of Qatar. We got to chatting a bit and we exchanged emails and by the time I got back to Los Angeles, my inbox was full and I had roses and everything. It was a very nice courtship.’

But the relationship then soured after she had their three children at a young age.

She said: ‘There was something that struck me about him. I wanted to take care of him, I wanted to be there for him because he’s lonely. It’s lonely at the top

‘Because there’s such an age difference between us and some family members came in between, we just grew apart.

Socialite Lady Victoria Hervey (left) lead the tributes to her friend (right) who was found dead aged 45 from a suspected drug overdose in her apartment in Marbella on Sunday

Kasia (pictured with Clive Owen), of Polish origin, grew up in Los Angeles and met Abdelaziz when she was 19 years old

‘I wanted to live my life, I was still very young and I had my children very young so I wanted to experience life and he had already finished that part.

‘The Middle East is still very different, women are treated very different to men.’

Abdelaziz has been accused of sexually touching one of their daughters and forcing her to sleep in his bed.

The allegations were aired in court in a recent custody hearing in Paris.

Kasia said: ‘Power, diplomatic immunity and money shouldn’t allow you to be able to do things above the law.

‘I hope it’s not true however when my daughter says it, I do believe my daughter

‘It’s a horrible story, something that hit me very hard. It’s every mother’s nightmare.’

French media reports have claimed Abdelaziz also made his daughters sleep in the servants quarters of his palatial 50,000-square-foot Parisian home in the eighth arrondissement after they visited their mother until they apologised.

He was exiled there following a coup led by his half-brother Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in 1995. 

Le Parisien reported that on May 19, a Paris court had dismissed Kasia’s custody demands. She had recently spent several months in hospital, with the French publication saying she was prone to suffering from nervous breakdowns.

As a result, the judge postponed the case until a psychological evaluation could be undertaken to better understand the family’s circumstances, Le Parisien said.       

Socialite Lady Victoria Hervey paid tribute to her friend, telling the Daily Mail: ‘Kasia was a fashion icon, elegant, gracious and an incredible mother. She will be greatly missed.’ 

The former couple share two 17-year-old twins (pictured with Galliano) and another daughter aged 15

The former royal couple had been engaged in a bitter legal battle for 15 years over the custody of their children.

He accused her of being an alcoholic with mental health issues, while Al Thani was accused of abusing one of the couple’s daughters.

Kasia, of Polish origin, grew up in Los Angeles and met Abdelaziz when she was 19 years old and they married in 2004.

Speaking to Olive Press – a Spanish English-language newspaper for Ex-Pats in the country – a close friend of Kasia described her as a ‘good person’ who was ‘against drugs’ and denied that she was an alcoholic.

‘I knew her very very well and am devastated at the news,’ Louis Spagnuolo told the publication. ‘She was a very good person and those who knew her loved her.

‘She loved her daughters beyond belief and would never leave them. She was dead against drugs and was never an alcoholic.’ 

Kasia led a lavish lifestyle and was regularly partying with celebrities such as Antonio Banderas (pictured)

She claimed the former Qatari oil and finance minister sexually abused one of their three daughters

The ex-wife had been increasingly speaking out against the royal in her bid to gain full custody of all her children.

She told her 500,000 Instagram followers recently: ‘I have been struggling with posting this on my IG but after getting so many messages of support and how so many parents are in the same situation, I decided to share my story.

‘First a man should never disrespect the mother of his children and vice versa.

‘No matter how mad, upset or jealous or spiteful the father of my kids is, I am doing whatever I can to provide, protect, love, raise, feed and educate the girls like no one else will. I’m not perfect but I try my best.

‘Children should NEVER be used as victims or pawns when the parents can’t get along.

The former royal couple have been engaged in a bitter legal battle for 15 years over the custody of their children (pictured with Channing Tatum)

‘The father of my children Prince Abdulaziz Khalifa Al Thani has not paid one cent for child support for a over a year now to help me support and raise our children.

‘In my opinion this is outrageous, unfair, embarrassing and a real shame. No matter on what financial level or status you are. It’s really immoral because again the kids are the casualty.

‘However it’s more humiliating when you are a billionaire prince of QATAR.’

Despite not being able to see her daughters often, in another post recently she shared a photograph of them together and shared how much she loved them.

‘My darlings. Never forget that I love you so much. Life is filled with hard times and good times. If at certain moments you feel overwhelmed …..don’t forget who you are…..straighten up your crown and be brave……Learn from everything you can and be the incredible, inspiring, powerful and compassionate women, I know you can be ~ love mommy,’ she wrote.

A post mortem will be held to establish the cause of Kasia’s death, with initial indications suggesting that she died of a drug overdose.

The ex-wife (pictured with rapper Tyga) has been increasingly speaking out against the royal in her bid to gain full custody of all her children

The former couple share two 17-year-old twins who initially lived with Al Thani before they decided to move in with their mother in Marbella

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