Insider Details About Mohamed Al-Fayed's Relationship With Princess Diana

Before the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales she was very closely associated with the Al-Fayed family. She had been romantically linked with Dodi, of course, but she was also friends with his father Mohamed, the owner of the famous London department store Harrods. Their relationship was tackled in The Crown, but the truth ran far deeper and is in many ways stranger.


Mohamed Al-Fayed led an incredible and at times downright bizarre life. He was born in 1929 — though he always claimed he’d arrived into the world in 1933 — and began a career in business as soon as he reached adulthood.

He was also born with the surname “Fayed” and only added the “Al-” part later. Some think that he did this to imply he was from an aristocratic family, when in fact this wasn’t actually the case.

Powerful people

First, Al-Fayed and his family created a shipping company in Egypt, but that wasn’t enough for him. The entrepreneur began associating with rich people and world leaders and embarking on more and more ambitious projects.

In the 1960s he moved to London and continued his work, all the while forming business deals with more and more powerful people. By 1979 he had bought the Ritz Hotel in Paris and had become the private owner of Harrods.

Not accepted

Al-Fayed began rubbing shoulders with the royal family. He badly wanted to make it into the British “upper classes,” but it has always been incredibly hard for outsiders to truly break into that elite world. 

“Nobody quite accepts him,” said one-time Daily Express executive editor Alan Frame to Vanity Fair in 1995. “We’re still a class-ridden society. He sponsors lots of things involving the royal family, and he’s still not accepted.”

The family

Al-Fayed had his own family to focus on, as well. In 1954 he had married Samira Khashoggi, and that relationship resulted in Dodi. The marriage only lasted two years, but the connections and notoriety of Khashoggi’s family helped Al-Fayed to get ahead.

Then in 1985 he ended up tying the knot with a former model named Heini Wathén; he went on to have four children with her. These were Jasmine, Camilla, Karim, and Omar.