People binging the first four episodes of The Crown season six have likely noticed a familiar face cropping up once again. Mohamed Al-Fayed, an Egyptian billionaire who owns all sorts of fancy real estate around London and Paris, was initially introduced during season 5, and takes an even more central role in season 6. The first few episodes depict Princess Diana visiting Mohamed, her flourishing relationship with his son, Dodi Al-Fayed, and the tension Dodi's connection to Diana caused.
Dodi was Princess Diana’s last boyfriend. Dodi was with her at the time of her death and also perished in the Paris car crash.
It is also worth noting that while Mohamed was a prolific and celebrated businessman during the years The Crown takes place, he was later accused of sexual harassment and assault by several women, including a 15-year-old former employee, according to Channel 4 News in England. He denied these claims.
Who is Mohamed Al-Fayed?
Mohamed Al-Fayed is a billionaire who owned the Ritz Hotel in Paris and Harrod's (a famous luxury department store) in London, per Biography.com.
He also owned the professional soccer team Fulham F.C., which he sold in 2013, according to CNN.
Mohamed was born on January 27, 1929, in Alexandria, Egypt, but moved to the UK in the 1960s.
How did Mohamed Al-Fayed get rich?
In The Crown, we’re introduced to Mohamed as a boy who is selling drinks on streets in Egypt. He supposedly sold lemonade and sewing machines to help support his family. His father was a teacher.
His “lucky break,” according to the BBC, was when Mohamed began to work for Adnan Khashoggi and his Saudi Arabian import business. From there, Mohamed launched his own shipping business and then became an adviser to the Sultan of Brunei, one of the world’s richest men in 1966, according to the BBC report.
He moved to Britain in the 1970s, already wealthy, and in 1979 along with his brother, bought the Paris Ritz Hotel. The brothers purchased Harrods in 1985.
How did he become friends with Princess Diana?
It’s not clear when he first met the royal family, but Mohamed attended a polo match with Princess Diana in July 1987, where they were photographed, according to TODAY. (Fans see this play out in episode three of the fifth season of The Crown, where the two meet at an event.)
"Diana is so easygoing with Mohamed," Michael Cole, the then public affairs director of Harrods told Vanity Fair in 1995, per TODAY. "Mohamed is not one of those who’s overwhelmed by her. They spark off each other very well."
Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed started dating after reconnecting on Mohamed's yacht in 1997.
Princess Diana and Dodi first met at a polo match in 1986 while Diana was still married to Prince Charles, The Independent reports. Eleven years later, Diana reconnected with Dodi while vacationing at his father Mohamed’s home in St. Tropez with Prince William and Prince Harry.
Dodi and Princess Diana started dating soon after that, but only had one summer together before their tragic deaths, per NBC News. (Diana and Charles officially divorced in 1996 after four years of separation.)
However, things seemed somewhat serious between these two. Jeweler Alberto Repossi told The Washington Post that the couple bought a diamond ring together at the Monaco branch of his story, but there's no evidence that they were engaged.
Mohamed questioned the circumstances around Dodi and Diana's death.
Mohamed was known for clashing with the British establishment after his son was killed with Diana in the car crash. He even alleged that a member of the British royal family might have been somehow involved in the fatal crash.
But in 1997, he accepted the verdict of an inquest jury looking into his allegations, which ultimately found that the two were "unlawfully killed by the grossly negligent driving of their chauffeur and paparazzi photographers pursuing them in a Paris road tunnel," per Reuters.
Does he still own Harrods?
No. He sold the department store to Qatar for $2.4 billion in 2010, according to Forbes.
What was Mohamed's net worth?
His net worth was around $1.9 billion, per Forbes.
Is he still alive?
No, the billionaire died in August of 2023 at 94 years old. Before his death, Mohamed had stepped out of the public eye after several credible accounts of sexual harassment and assault over the years which he denied, including one such accusation made by a 15-year-old employee.
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