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Dodi Fayed & His Famous Father’s Unique Relationship With Princess Diana, Explained

Dodi and Diana's story goes further back than their rumoured two-month romance.
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Princess Diana’s final hours before her tragic death have been the subject of major investigations, books and films over the past 25 years, and a significant part of that story includes Dodi Fayed, who was rumoured to be her new boyfriend at the time and killed in the same crash that took her life. 

Now, The Crown is set to unveil another perspective on Dodi and Diana’s story, specifically how they came together, which was actually through the Egyptian filmmaker’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed. 

A tribute for Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana was presented at Harrods department store in the wake of their 1997 deaths. (Credit: Getty)

Who was Dodi Fayed and what was his relationship with Princess Diana? 

Dodi Fayed was an Egyptian film producer born in 1955. He was the last known romantic partner of Princess Diana after the pair reportedly struck up a relationship in July 1997, two months before the Paris car crash that claimed their lives. 

Dodi and Diana first met way back in the 1980s while the Princess was married to Prince Charles. She was attending a polo match in which Charles was competing in a team against Dodi’s. While the pair certainly crossed paths there, it’s unclear whether the ill-fated pair ever spoke on that occasion. 

More than a decade on in the summer of 1997, the then-divorced Diana and her two sons Prince William and Harry were invited by family friend Mohamed Al-Fayed to a holiday in St. Tropez. His son, Dodi, was on the trip and it was there that he and Diana grew closer. 

Their short-lived relationship caused a stir with press due to Dodi’s reputation as a “playboy”, and he was rumoured to have dated several A-list actors including Julia Roberts, Brooke Shields and Winona Ryder. Diana and Dodi also struck up their relationship shortly after the royal’s split with her former partner, heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. The Princess’ former butler Paul Burrell noted at the inquest into her death that he wasn’t under the impression Diana thought Dodi was “the one”, and he suggested that she was “on the rebound” from Khan. 

On the night of their death, it was reported that Dodi had given Diana a ring which many believed was an engagement ring, though Burrell also clarified it was a “friendship band” at the inquest. 

Mohamed Al Fayed with Princess Diana and Charles at the polo in 1987. (Credit: Getty)

Who is Dodi Fayed’s father? 

Dodi Fayed’s father is well-known Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, whose business interests in the UK include his previous ownership of Harrods department store and the Fulham Football Club. He also owns Paris’ Hôtel Ritz. 

What was Mohamed Al-Fayed’s relationship with Princess Diana?

Through his well connected circles, Mohamed became acquainted with the British royals in the 1990s, specifically with Princess Diana, with whom he shared a “spark” with. 

“Diana is so easy going with Mohamed… Mohamed is not one of those who’s overwhelmed by her,” former director of public affairs at Harrods, Michael Cole, told Vanity Fair in 1995. 

It was Mohamed who invited Diana on his yacht in the south of France in 1997, which was where she met his oldest son Dodi. Not long after that holiday, both Diana and Dodi were killed in the Paris car crash. Devastated by the loss of his son and convinced the crash wasn’t an accident, Mohamed hired his own private investigators to expose his alleged theory—they never proved it. 

Still, Mohamed was convinced, even going so far as to claim to the Royal Courts of Justice that Diana had told him that “she knew Prince Philip and Prince Charles were trying to get rid of her”.

Mohamed is now 93 years old and has since sold on his ownership of Harrod’s and the Fulham Football Club. He remains a billionaire, and he still owns the Paris’ Hôtel Ritz. 

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