The story of Dodi Fayed, Princess Diana’s last partner

Film producer died in car crash with Diana in 1997

Amber Raiken
New York
Friday 24 November 2023 20:06 GMT

Related: The Crown Is All About Princess Diana and Dodi

The final season of The Crown highlights the brief romance between Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed, before the pair died in a car crash on 31 August 1997.

The beloved Netflix drama has made its return for its sixth season, with the first four episodes released on 16 November. The remaining six episodes of the season – part two – will be released on 14 December.

In season five of The Crown, viewers saw the British royal (played by Elizabeth Debicki) meet his father, billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed (played by Aamir El-Masry and then Salim Daw), at a polo match in Windsor. After making conversation with Mohamed about the now-late Queen Elizabeth II, Diana then had a brief moment during the match where she smiled at Fayed (played by Khalid Abdalla).

In the sixth season of The Crown, Fayed’s story continued, with viewers seeing his relationship with model Kelly Fisher. They also saw the fallout of that romance, as Fayed was famously spotted kissing Diana shortly after he allegedly asked Fisher to marry him,

Here’s everything we know about Dodi Fayed, from how he allegedly met Diana to his role in the film industry.

Who was Dodi Fayed?

Growing up, Fayed, who was raised Muslim, lived a life of luxury, with his time spent between France and Egypt. He went to school at Le Rosay school in Switzerland before attending the British military academy Sandhurst. He then received a commission in the United Arab Emirates air force.

According to The Guardian, he had “a monthly allowance of £400,000” in his early twenties, as his billionaire father owned the Ritz hotel in Paris and the London department store Harrods.

He then entered a successful career as a filmmaker, which was showcased in season five of The Crown. He produced the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, which went on to win an Oscar. He was also known for his work on movies like Scarlet Letter, Breaking Glass, and Steven Spielberg’s Hook, which starred the late Robin Williams.

Throughout his years in the industry, there were reports that he dated numerous celebrities, including Brooke Shields, Cathy Lee Crosby, and Joanne Whalley.

How did he meet Diana and how long was their relationship?

In season five of The Crown, Fayed and Diana are depicted as meeting for the first time in 1986, during a polo match against Prince Charles at Windsor.

However, the pair didn’t start their relationship until 1997, when Fayed’s father invited the Princess of Wales and her children to be his guests aboard his yacht in St Tropez for the summer. The trip came one year after Diana’s heavily publicised divorce from the Princes of Wales, now King Charles III, and her more recent separation from surgeon Hasnat Khan.

After the polo match, Diana continued to spend time with Fayed, with pictures of their outings going on to make headlines. When a photo of them kissing was captured in August 1997, it reportedly became one of the most expensive paparazzi pictures ever sold.

On 30 August 1997, Fayed and Diana stopped for a night in Paris, where they stayed at the Ritz. The stay took place after they had spent nine days touring the Mediterranean on Mohamed’s yacht.

Before they could depart from the Paris hotel, a pack of press photographers had already assembled outside on the Place Vendome. In an attempt to escape the paparazzi, a Mercedes-Benz – in which Fayed and Diana were passengers – crashed in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in the French capital. Diana, who was 36 at the time, Fayed, and their chauffeur, Henri Paul, were killed in the crash.

Did Fayed and Diana get engaged?

In season six of The Crown, the series addressed the ongoing speculation in 1997 that Fayed and Diana had gotten engaged before their car crash. During the third episode of the season, the film producer pulled out a ring to propose to Diana, as they were staying at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. However, Diana stopped the proposal and told him: “I’m nowhere near ready for another marriage.” She also told him that she doesn’t think that he’s ready to get married either, adding: “I can’t make your father love you more by becoming your wife.”

While with Diana, Fayed’s father called him to ask if he proposed. In response, Fayed simply said: “An agreement was indeed reached between two people tonight.” However, he then turned around and ended the phone call, so Diana wouldn’t see him. He went on to put the phone next to his ear, to make it seem like he was still talking to his father, and said: “But there will be no engagement nor wedding. The princess and I will remain friends but not more.”

Although his phone was off the entire time, he still pretended to talk to his father in front of Diana and stood up to him. “If you want to cut me off for letting you down, for being a failure, for whatever you want to call it, go ahead,” Fayed said. “I love you, but it’s killing me trying to be the person you need me to be to feel good about yourself.”

Fayed later confessed to Diana that his father didn’t hear anything he’d said during that phone call, to which the Princess responded: “I know. You’ll have the courage to tell him soon.” The confession came right before the pair died in the car crash in Paris.

Who was Fayed’s ex-fiancée?

Fayed first met Fisher in Paris in July 1996, and they went on to allegedly get engaged after eight months of dating. In February 1997, the film producer reportedly proposed with a sapphire and diamond ring.

However, in August 1997, the film producer was photographed kissing Diana, with the pictures splashed on The Sunday Mirror’s front page. Fisher and her lawyer, Gloria Allred, then held a press conference in Beverly Hills, California, where it was announced that she was filing a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Fayed. The document claimed that Fayed wanted Fisher to put her “career in second place behind him and to spend more time with him and less on her modelling career”.

The lawsuit also claimed that Fisher wasn’t told about the kiss by Fayed, but learned about it when photos were “published and circulated around the world,” lead to “Miss Fisher’s utter dismay, shock and shame”. When the kiss was documented, Fisher had reportedly been staying on another yacht owned by the Fayed family. She was allegedly told not to contact Fayed again when she reached out to him about the kiss.

Shortly after Fayed and Diana died in the car crash, Fisher announced that she was dropping the lawsuit. “Kelly loved Dodi very much, and she is devastated by his loss, and that of Princess Diana,” she said through a representative. “Nothing is more important than the life of a human being. In the light of this enormous tragedy, Kelly forgives Dodi for all of his past injustices against her.”

The Crown season six part one arrived on Netflix on 16 November, with part two following on 14 December.

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