Who Had been Mohamed and Dodi al-Fayed? Truth-Checking the Crown

Warning: This submit accommodates spoilers for The Crown.

Princess Diana is the simple star of Season 5 of the The Crown. Performed by Elizabeth Debicki, the individuals’s princess takes heart stage within the newest season of the Netflix collection as she divorces Charles and establishes a brand new life on her personal phrases. We observe her romance with Dr. Hasnat Khan (Humayun Saeed) and get hints of a future fling with Dodi Fayed (Khalid Abdalla), the person who finally died alongside Diana and their driver Henri Paul in a tragic automotive crash on Aug. 31, 1997.

A complete episode of the present is devoted to Dodi and his father, Mohamed al-Fayed (Aamir El-Masry, after which Salim Daw), the billionaire who longed to enter the internal circle of the British higher class. Mohamed and Diana grew to become quick associates, and the present suggests they bonded over their outsider standing. The collection outlines how al-Fayed’s means may provide Diana the safety she required—from non-public bodyguards and yachts and villas to luxe holidays— after her divorcée standing banished her from royal circles. Mohamed additionally appeared longing for Dodi and Diana to attach: Dodi was reportedly engaged to another person when his father invited him on trip with Diana and her sons, William and Harry.

Right here’s all the things you might want to learn about Dodi and his father.

Learn Extra: How A Sprawling Drama About Elizabeth II Became Netflix’s Crown Jewel

Who was Mohamed al-Fayed?

The Egyptian billionaire was a fixture of the London upper-class lengthy earlier than he ever met Princess Diana. His background is a little bit of a thriller. He was born in Alexandria, however his birth date is disputed, based on the BBC. And whereas he once claimed to the press that he hailed from a protracted line of rich cotton growers, he later said his father was a teacher, based on The Unbiased.

In 1954, he married Samira Khashoggi, the sister of a Saudi Arabian arms supplier named Adnan Khashoggi. Earlier than the couple divorced, that they had one little one collectively, Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Mena’em Fayed, in any other case referred to as Dodi. Dodi attended prestigious colleges like Sandhurst navy academy within the U.Ok. the place Prince William and Prince Harry would finally go to highschool.

Mohamed al-Fayed ran a delivery enterprise, suggested the Sultan of Brunei, and briefly labored for a mining conglomerate earlier than shifting to England within the Seventies.

Learn Extra: The True Story Behind Charles, Diana, and Camilla’s Love Triangle

How did Mohamad al-Fayed come to personal the Ritz in Paris and Harrods in London?

In 1979, Mohamad purchased the well-known Ritz lodge in Paris, and in 1985, he added the enduring London division retailer Harrods to his holdings. That very same 12 months, he married Finnish mannequin Heini Wathen. They’d 4 kids collectively.

The acquisition of Harrods was simply the primary of many who al-Fayed hoped would assist purchase his means into British excessive society. The shop stood for Britishness itself, and al-Fayed would proceed to snap up buildings and establishments with comparable symbolic heft. He later acquired Punch Journal, the Fulham soccer group, and at last the Parisian villa that had as soon as belonged to the previous King Edward VIII and his spouse, Wallis Simpson, after Edward abdicated the throne. Little doubt al-Fayed hoped to catch the attention of the Queen by restoring her uncle’s dwelling to its former glory.

If al-Fayed hoped these purchases would enchant the royals, he misjudged the Queen and her internal circle. The British upper-crust saved him at a distance, and he discovered himself extra of an outsider than ever. The sale of Harrods, specifically, stirred up animosity in England. A competitor for the shop claimed that al-Fayed lied about his revenue to seal the deal. Al-Fayed denied the claims however grew to become embroiled in investigations and lawsuits. The scandal ensnared Prime Minister John Main’s authorities when al-Fayed paid two senior Conservative politicians to ask questions in Parliament on behalf of Harrod’s—a transfer that was not technically unlawful, however positively questionable.

There was, little doubt, some bigotry at play within the press’ evaluation of al-Fayed as a determined social climber who couldn’t fairly grasp the elusive guidelines by which the higher class reside. Al-Fayed utilized to turn into a British citizen twice, and each occasions he was denied. Later in life, al-Fayed would call Prince Philip a “racist.”

Who was Dodi al-Fayed?

Dodi al-Fayed was greatest referred to as a partier. In The Crown, he romances a girlfriend on a non-public jet outfitted with a mattress and loads of cocaine. In actual life, earlier than he met Diana, he was photographed in the tabloids with actors like Brooke Shields, Julia Roberts, and Winona Ryder, although sources near him advised The Guardian that he might not have truly dated these ladies. He employed a robust publicist to verify he was photographed on dates with celebrities.

In 1986, he married the mannequin Suzanne Gregard, however they divorced eight months later. On The Crown, Dodi is depicted as determined for his father’s approval. He needs to indicate off his wealth, particularly to the ladies in his life, however resents having to ask his father to fund his lavish life-style.

How was the household concerned in Chariots of Fireplace?

Dodi additionally had a ardour for movie. Together with his household’s cash, he helped produce Chariots of Fireplace, a British historic drama about Olympic runners. In keeping with Tina Brown’s biography of Diana, The Diana Chronicles, Dodi was finally thrown off set by the director for giving cocaine to the actors. Nonetheless, the film went on to win Greatest Image on the Oscars in 1981. On The Crown, Mohamed stays up late into the night time to see if Chariots will win—and if his identify can be talked about throughout the acceptance speech.

How did Diana meet Mohamed and Dodi?

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Elizabeth Debicki as Diana in The Crown


It’s not clear when Diana first encountered Dodi, however it might have been at a 1986 polo match in Windsor. Diana’s then-husband Charles and Dodi performed on reverse groups.

The Crown depicts Diana assembly Mohamed for the primary time at such a match. Mohamed has sponsored the occasion, which he believes will earn him the precise to sit down subsequent to the Queen. The Queen avoids him and as an alternative deploys her daughter-in-law Diana to entertain the billionaire. Diana and Mohamed instantly begin joking about how the Queen has rejected them each. Diana briefly smiles at Dodi, however they don’t but have a dialog.

Although it’s not depicted on Season 5 of The Crown, Diana and Dodi’s first actual assembly was on Dodi’s father’s yacht. Brown writes that Diana had initially hoped to spend the summer time of 1997 within the Hamptons however was advised by her safety it was not secure. Mohamed al-Fayed invited her to carry Will and Harry to his villa within the South of France the place they may depend on his non-public safety.

Diana was additionally going by way of a breakup with the center surgeon Hasnat Khan, who had turn into overwhelmed by her celeb. So she was in a very emotionally weak place when she met Dodi three days into her journey to France.

Al-Fayed summoned Dodi to the yacht, although his son was reportedly engaged to mannequin Kelly Fisher on the time. On the journey, the 2 grew shut. Little doubt, Season 6 will cowl Diana and Dodi’s assembly and romance, in addition to their tragic demise.

How lengthy did Diana and Dodi date?

It was a whirlwind romance. The 2 had solely been relationship for a number of months after they died within the automotive crash.

What has Mohamed al-Fayed stated about Diana and Dodi’s loss of life?

Al-Fayed lengthy insisted that the automotive crash through which Diana and Dodi died was not an accident. He employed investigators and appealed the findings of the official French investigation into the crash a number of occasions.

Al-Fayed instructed the British royal household might need someway been concerned as a result of they needed to cowl up the truth that Diana and Dodi had been pregnant and deliberate to marry. In the meantime, individuals near Diana have persistently denied that Diana was anticipating or that she deliberate to marry Dodi. Brown writes that sources near Diana advised her the princess “had no intention of marrying Dodi Fayed however had a dalliance with him merely to bother Charles and the Royal Household”.

Nonetheless, in November 2008, Fayed learn written testimony earlier than the Royal Courts of Justice. “She advised me that she knew Prince Philip and Prince Charles had been making an attempt to do away with her,” he stated, based on the New York Times. “They cleared the decks. They murdered her.”

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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