Who Is Mohamed Al-Fayed? – Meet Dodi’s Father as Seen on The Crown
Whereas exploring Princess Diana’s divorce from Prince Charles, The Crown‘s fifth season additionally lays the groundwork for her relationship with movie producer Dodi Fayed. Whereas the longer term companions, performed by Elizabeth Debicki and Khalid Abdalla, solely meet as soon as within the new episodes, the sequence takes care to dive into Dodi’s backstory and household, beginning along with his father, Mohamed Al-Fayed.
Season 5, episode 3 “Mou Mou” introduces Mohamed as a younger man (Amir El-Masry) in Alexandria, Egypt. He’s promoting sodas on the road when the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson make a royal go to to city, leaving him starstruck. Though his father understandably resents the British for occupying Egypt and “[trampling] on our freedoms. Our dignity,” Mohamed finds them aspirational. “I need to match them. I need to be like them. Have energy like them,” he says later in his room.
After a time leap, The Crown reveals the grownup Mohamed (Salim Daw), now a rich businessman, in pursuit of that energy. He buys the Ritz, attends the identical horse reveals because the royal household, buys Harrods, and refurbishes the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s nation villa in France. He even hires Sydney Johnson, the previous equerry to the abdicated King Edward VIII. On the finish of the episode, Daw’s Mohamed meets Debicki’s Diana as they’re seated collectively at a royal horse present, and develop into quick buddies.
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Here is what to know concerning the real-life Al-Fayed.
He is a billionaire.
Mohamed Fayed—he added Al to his title within the ’70s—was born in Alexandria, Egypt, although his precise delivery date is disputed. (He’s believed to be round 90 at present.) He married Samira Khashoggi, sister of the arms vendor Adnan Khashoggi, in 1954. The next 12 months, they welcomed a son collectively, Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Mena’em Fayed, a.okay.a. Dodi Fayed. The couple divorced in 1956. Not a lot is understood about his early enterprise ventures, however he labored within the Saudi Arabian import enterprise, launched a delivery enterprise, and consulted the Sultan of Brunei in 1966, in line with BBC. He then moved to the U.Okay. within the Nineteen Seventies.
In 1979, as proven in The Crown, Mohamed and his brother Ali purchased the Ritz Paris resort. On the time, the institution was not doing properly following the dying of hotelier Charle Ritz, who died in 1976. His widow Monique determined to promote it three years later, per Historical past Additional. Maybe his most well-known enterprise is shopping for the division retailer Harrods, which he and his brother did in 1985. (This was additionally the identical 12 months he married socialite and mannequin Heini Wathen.) Doing so allowed him entry to elite social circles, together with occasions which the royals attended. He bought the shop to the Qatari royal household in 2010 for a reported $2.4 billion.
His different enterprise dealings embody funding the Oscar-winning movie Chariots of Fireplace by way of his and Dodi’s manufacturing firm Allied Stars, and shopping for the Fulham Soccer Membership in 1997, which bought in 2013 for reported $300 million. As of November 2022, Forbes estimates Al-Fayed’s web value is $1.9 billion.
Salim Daw as Mohamed Al-Fayed on The Crown.
He renovated “Villa Windsor.”
In 1986, Al-Fayed took a 50-year lease on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s French residence, a 14-room Nineteenth-century villa within the Bois de Boulogne. The state of the villa had deteriorated by the point the Duchess died earlier that 12 months. (The Duke handed in 1972.) Al-Fayed deliberate to refurbish the property into a non-public museum, a spot the place “historians, members of the British royal household, personalities, buddies and essential company of the Ritz” may go to, he informed The New York Instances. He finally spent $12 million on renovations, in line with Individuals.
Al-Fayed solely met the royal couple as soon as, throughout a celebration on the villa within the ’60s, he informed the Instances. However they left a long-lasting impression on him, and he recalled “the way in which they danced and their sense of enjoyable.” He later informed Individuals, “I used to be fully taken by their method and their heat.”
Sydney Johnson, a former valet to the Duke for over 30 years, restored the items in Al-Fayed’s renovation challenge. He grew to become a valet for the businessman on the villa after working on the Ritz, per the Instances. Al-Fayed referred to as him a “dictionary,” including to the Instances, “He is a really cultured man. He received all these items out of packing containers and safes and storage rooms, and he is aware of their historical past.”
He invited Diana and her children on trip.
Whereas The Crown depicts Mohamed and Diana’s first assembly at a horse present, they really met earlier by way of Diana’s stepmother Raine Spencer, who was on the Harrods board, in line with Historical past Additional. Whereas their dialog onscreen was imagined, there was doubtless some reality behind their dialogue about feeling like outsiders—Diana inside the royal household and Al-Fayed within the U.Okay. He utilized for British citizenship and was denied twice.
Al-Fayed (far proper) at a polo match with Prince Charles and Princess Diana circa 1987.
In the summertime of 1997, he invited Diana and her sons to trip with him and his household in St. Tropez, on his yacht the Jonikal. That is reportedly the place she met and have become shut along with his son, Dodi. They solely dated for a few month earlier than they each died in a automobile crash in Paris in August 1997.
Mohamed, who would go on to construct a memorial to Diana and Dodi in Harrods, has lengthy alleged that the crash wasn’t an accident, however a homicide. He believes the couple have been killed deliberately “as a result of they nonetheless do not settle for that Dodi, my son, an Egyptian, a Muslim, could be the stepfather of the longer term king,” he mentioned in a 60 Minutes Australia interview.