Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s respective post-split romances are very much part of The Crown’s fifth season, and while we mostly see Diana’s relationship with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, we also get a glimpse at her future boyfriend Dodi Fayed.
Diana and Dodi didn’t start dating until summer 1997 (shortly after her relationship with Hasnat ended), but an entire episode of The Crown was devoted to his father, Mohamed Al-Fayed. And thanks to Mohamed’s arc on the show, viewers got a brief look at Dodi and Diana meeting (not to mention footage of Dodi getting engaged to his actress girlfriend), setting him up to be a huge part of The Crown’s sixth and final season. Here’s what we know about Dodi’s fascinating and too-short life.
Dodi Was a Casual Billionaire
Or at least his, he came from a family of billionaires. Dodi (born Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Mena’em Fayed) was the eldest son of Samira Khashoggi, an author from Saudi Arabia, and Mohamed Al-Fayed, a massively wealthy businessman from Egypt who—as we saw in The Crown—owned Harrods, not to mention the Ritz.
He Was a Film Producer
As we saw in The Crown, Dodi produced Chariots of Fire (which won an Oscar), and he also worked on movies like Breaking Glass and The Scarlet Letter.
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Aside from his projects in Hollywood, Dodi also worked with his father in various family businesses and reportedly had a monthly allowance of £400,000.
Like Diana, Dodi Was Divorced
Dodi married Suzanne Gregard in 1986, and they split after less than a year together. Then in 1997, he got engaged again to a model named Kelly Fisher—but their relationship abruptly ended when Dodi started dating Princess Diana.
Dodi and Diana’s relationship went public in August 1997 when they were photographed kissing on the Fayed family yacht (the photo was published on August 10, 1997, according to Sara Bradford’s biography, Diana).
At the time, the Sunday Mirror mused (via a People article published on August 25, 1997, less than a week before Dodi and Diana’s deaths), “You only have to look at the sensual body language to know that they have found physical and spiritual fulfillment in each other.”
Prior to dating Diana, The Guardian reported that Dodi was “linked” to “a lot of women,” including Brooke Shields, Julia Roberts, Winona Ryder, and Daryl Hannah.
For what it’s worth, Dodi’s ex Suzanne only had positive things to say about his relationship with Diana when they were first reported to be dating: “He was so romantic and thoughtful,” she told People. “And he didn’t take things too seriously. Once, during a candlelit dinner he had arranged, the table we were sitting at collapsed, and the whole turkey fell to the floor. We laughed so hard. That was what I loved about him.”
His Ex-Fiancée Sued Him for Leaving Her
Kelly Fisher wasn’t thrilled when Dodi left her for Diana, and straight-up sued him for ending their relationship. Kelly even held a press conference in Beverly Hills on August 15, 1997 (wearing her engagement ring for extra drama) and her lawyer, Gloria Allred, gave a lengthy statement saying, in part, that Dodi had “led her emotionally all the way up to the altar and abandoned her when they were almost there. He threw her love away in a callous way with no regard for her whatsoever.”
Allred also claimed that “Miss Fisher learnt about Mr Fayed’s betrayal, not from Mr Fayed but instead from the ‘kiss photo’ that was published and circulated around the world to Miss Fisher’s utter dismay, shock, and shame.”
Dodi Tragically Died in a Car Accident With Diana
Dodi was traveling with Diana during a car crash that tragically killed them both. The accident occurred on August 31, 1997, while the couple was vacationing in Paris following a trip to the French and Italian riviera. Per the BBC, Mohamed Al-Fayed’s press spokesman Michael Cole claimed that Dodi and Diana had gotten engaged before their death.
FYI, scenes surrounding Diana and Dodi’s deaths will reportedly be included in The Crown’s sixth season, leading to “anxiety” on set. As a source told Deadline, “While we’re calmly carrying on, it’s fair to acknowledge that there’s a certain anxiety, a palpable sense of being slightly on edge. I mean, there’s bombshell sensitivity surrounding this one.”
Here’s to hoping the show handles this with its usual sensitivity. ‘Til then, The Crown season 5 is available to stream on Netflix.