Dodi Fayed: who was Princess Diana’s partner, were they engaged and how much was Mohamed Al Fayed’s son worth?

The Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed were both killed in a car crash 26 years ago
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Mohamed Al Fayed, the father of Dodi Fayed has died at the age of 94.

His family confirmed in a statement, that he had “passed away peacefully of old age” on Wednesday August 30, 2023. Almost 26 years to the day when his son Dodi and Princess Diana tragically lost their lives.

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Diana, Princess of Wales was travelling in a car with her partner Dodi Fayed in Paris, France in August 1997 when the car was involved in an accident. Dodi died at the scene, while Diana died a short while later in hospital.

But, just who was Dodi Fayed, and were the couple due to be married at the time of their deaths? Here’s what you need to know.

Who was Dodi Fayed?

Dodi Fayed was an Egyptian film producer. He was in a relationship with Princess Diana, and was travelling in a car with her in Paris, France, when they both died in a car accident on 31 August 1997.

Fayed was also the son of late billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed, an Egyptian-born businessman whose business interests included ownership of Hôtel Ritz Paris and formerly Harrods department store and Fulham F.C., both in London.

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A permanent memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi al-Fayed is pictured in the Harrods store in London, 31 August 2006.A permanent memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi al-Fayed is pictured in the Harrods store in London, 31 August 2006.
A permanent memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi al-Fayed is pictured in the Harrods store in London, 31 August 2006.

Fayed was born on 17 April 1955 and died on 31 August 1997. He was 42-years-old when he died and would be 68-years-old today.

When did Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana begin their relationship?

Fayed and his father first met Princess Diana when she was married to Prince Charles. The father and son were introduced to the then royal couple at a polo tournament in July 1986, that had been sponsored by Harrods department store which Fayed owned at the time.

Diana and Charles divorced in 1996. A year later, Diana was hosted by Al Fayed in the south of France in mid-1997, with her sons, Princes William and Harry. For the holiday, Fayed bought a 195 ft yacht named the Jonikal.

Dodi and Diana later began a private cruise on the Jonikal and paparazzi photographs of the couple in an embrace were published. Diana’s friend, the journalist Richard Kay, confirmed that Diana was involved in "her first serious romance" since her divorce.

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Dodi and Diana went on a second private cruise on the Jonikal in the third week of August, and returned from Sardinia to Paris on 30 August. The couple privately dined at the Ritz later that day, after the behaviour of the press caused them to cancel a restaurant reservation, they then planned to spend the night at Dodi’s apartment near the Arc de Triomphe.

In an attempt to deceive the paparazzi, a decoy car left the front of the hotel, while Diana and Dodi left in another car via the back of the hotel. Just minutes later, the car crashed in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. Dodi and the car’s chauffeur Henri Paul were found dead at the scene.

Diana died afterwards in hospital. Al Fayed arrived in Paris a day later and viewed Dodi’s body, which was then returned to the UK for a funeral.

Was Princess Diana engaged to Dodi Fayed?

There has long been speculation about whether or not Princess Diana and Dodi were going to marry. At the time of Princess Diana and Dodi’s death, Dodi’s father Al Fayed told UK newspapers that his son and the Princess were due to get married.

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In February 1998, he told The Mirror the couple were engaged to be married and planned to live at the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s former villa in Paris.

However, a friend of Diana’s, Lady Annabel Goldsmith, told the inquest into her death that Diana had no intentions of getting married again. Goldsmith recalled saying to Diana: “You’re not going to do anything silly like rushing off and eloping or getting married?”

Diana apparently replied: “I would need marriage like a rash on my face.” When asked what Diana meant by the “rash” comment, Lady Annabel said: “I took it to mean that she was not serious about marriage to Dodi.

“She might have been having a wonderful time with him, I’m sure, but I thought her remark that she needed marriage like a rash meant she was not serious about it.”

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How much was Dodi Fayed worth?

Dodi Fayed had an estimated net worth of $1 billion at death, which is around £851,100,000.00 in today’s money. His father was one of the most famous business tycoons in the world, in 2021 the Sunday Times Rich List reported that the Al Fayed family were worth around £1.7 billion.

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