ASMA al-Assad, the British-born wife of Syrian President Bashar, cannot be barred entry to Britain, despite an EU Travel ban, but is not expected to head there given the current circumstances, William Hague has admitted.
Mrs Assad, as well as her husband's mother, sister and sister-in-law, have been banned from travelling to European Union countries and freezing any assets she may have there.
The foreign ministers also imposed a ban on eight government ministers, while the assets of two Syrian companies were frozen.
"British passport holders do obviously have a right of entry to the United Kingdom," British foreign secretary Mr Hague said. "But given that we are imposing an asset freeze on all of these individuals and a travel ban on other members of the same family and the regime, we are not expecting Mrs Assad to try to travel to the United Kingdom at the moment."
Under Home Office guidelines however, Mrs Assad would be allowed back into Britain if she so wished.
“If you are a UK citizen then you can't be refused entry to the UK", the Home Office says.
The Home Office added: "It is important to note that sanctions are imposed on individuals to encourage them to change their behaviour. While this is based on evidence, sanctions are not the results of a criminal conviction and therefore the imposition of sanctions would not lead to automatic arrest or action to deprive someone of their nationality."
Her status is somewhat unclear however. Nigel Kusher, a British lawyer who is an expert on sanctions, said he believed Mrs Assad is now effectively banned from traveling to the UK.
"No EU national and no EU company can make any funds or any economic resources available to Asma al-Assad, nor can anyone receive funds or economic resources from her," Mr Kushner said. "And that means that, essentially, she won't be able to go on any shopping trips in the EU or via third parties."
"To the extent she has any bank accounts in the EU, her assets will be frozen," Kushner said - a sanction that would prevent her from selling property, receiving rent, or anything similar.
Born and raised in Acton, west London, she married Mr Assad in late 2000, the year he was installed as president following the death of his father, Hafez.
Her role in the president's inner circle has come under increased scrutiny after emails written by Syria's first couple were leaked by opposition activists.
They showed that as the government offensive that has claimed an estimated 7,000 lives intensified, she shopped online in London and Paris, spending tens of thousands of pounds on jewels, furniture and a Venetian glass vase from Harrods.
She used an alias to make purchases from Europe and asked a friend to acquire a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II for her two older children. In drawing up previous sanctions, the EU froze "all funds and economic resources" belonging to "persons responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population" or "persons and entities associated with them".
Mrs Assad may already have violated sanctions with her online shopping spree that could expose her to prosecution. The regulations prohibit EU citizens from making "funds or economic resources" available to anyone named on the list.
Before the protests against her husband's rule began a year ago, she cultivated the image of a glamorous yet serious-minded woman with strong Western-inspired values who would liberalise the ruling family and the country. A glowing article in Vogue magazine described her as "a rose in the desert" and her household as "wildly democratic".
That image crumbled when her husband responded to the anti-government rebellion with extreme violence. She has shown no sign of the inner torment that some who met her beforehand assumed she was going through. Her messages to her husband and her friends are utterly supportive of him and at times display a resolve to see the crisis out.
"If we are strong together, we will overcome this togethere_SLps I love you," she wrote to her husband on Dec 28.
In her only statement since the crisis broke out, she said: "The president is the president of Syria, not a faction of Syrians, and the first lady supports him in that role." The emails also show that her father, Fawaz Akhras, a cardiologist at London's Cromwell hospital who has a private practice on Harley Street, regularly provided advice to Mr Assad on media and public relations policy.
"She and her father are accomplices to this crime. They learned nothing from the democracy here in the UK," said an opponent of the regime in London who asked to be named as Fawaz. He claimed that Mrs Assad had become a hate figure for many in the expatriate community of which she was once a part.
"They have stolen Syrian money. She is squandering it here in London," he said.