‘The Crown’: Mohamed Al Fayed’s Pursuit of Princess Diana, and Dodi Fayed’s Role

Mohamed Al Fayed makes its grand entrance The crown‘s lavish universe in the fifth-season episode “Mou Mou,” which rewinds seven decades to the humble beginnings of the businessman who sold Coca-Cola in the slums of Egypt. The flashback is tongue-in-cheek given that the controversial figure who restored Paris’s Ritz Hotel and revamped London’s Harrods department store in the ’80s is said to have overseen the brief romance between his son Emad “Dodi” Al Fayed and Princess Diana in the ’90s Manipulated for years, sensationally accused of plotting to kill the couple in the ’00s by the British royal family – spent much of his life erasing his actual origin story.

When Al Fayed and his brothers began their takeover bid for Harrods in the early 1980s, they claimed to be descended from an established Egyptian family that had been shipowners, landowners and industrialists for over a century. It wasn’t until 1990 that Britain’s Department of Trade and Industry revealed the truth: Al Fayed, who had raved about a spoiled childhood with an English nanny and an elite education at the “Eton of the Middle East”, was in fact the son of a humble schoolteacher growing up in Alexandria . The Observer referred to Al Fayed as “the false pharaoh” and tom bower, who wrote an unauthorized biography of Al Fayed, claimed the controversial businessman also shaved four years his age, adding Al to his name for a touch of glory.

As for the “family fortune” he used to buy the department store? The report suggested that much of the money had come from the Sultan of Brunei, possibly without his knowledge as the Sultan had given Fayed “wide powers” in the 1980s. (Al Fayed has always maintained that the money was his. The Sultan denied giving the Al Fayeds money to buy Harrods and said if the power of attorney was used for any other purpose it was without his knowledge or authority .) The investigators in the DTI report conclude: “It can only be a coincidence that this enormous increase in available wealth quickly followed Mohamed’s acceptance into the Sultan’s trust. However, it is a very strong coincidence.”

The crown‘s “Mou Mou,” which drew in part on Bower’s 1999 biography of the businessman for his Al Fayed storyline, smoothes out many of the rough edges and accusations Al Fayed has made over the years. Instead, it presents him as a charming villain who fostered a childish fascination with the crown and who refers to Diana as an outsider to the establishment. The episode interweaves his fictional story with that of Sydney Johnson, the Duke of Windsor’s beloved valet whom Al Fayed later hired to work for him, and Diana, who feels as isolated and alone as ever.

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana and Salim Dau as Mohammed Al Fayed The crown.By Keith Bernstein / Netflix.

Al Fayed was an outsider himself, having repeatedly been denied British citizenship. Explains the best-selling royal historian Sally Bedell Smith, “He applied for citizenship and was turned down. He felt the establishment was after him, so what better way to get back at the establishment than to develop a relationship with Diana? And he did.”

“It all boils down to the fact that he couldn’t get a passport,” Bower agrees in a separate conversation, citing Al Fayed’s bitterness at what he saw as classic snobbery. Both he and Bedell Smith say Al Fayed had hoped to ally himself with the monarchy in hopes it would give him credibility by proxy or something The guard described it as “the social acceptance he craves[d].”

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2022/11/mohamed-al-fayed-dodi-princess-diana-the-crown ‘The Crown’: Mohamed Al Fayed’s Pursuit of Princess Diana, and Dodi Fayed’s Role

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