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Who Was Princess Diana Dating When She Died in Car Crash in Paris in 1997?

When they died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997, Princess Diana and Egyptian-born film mogul Dodi Fayed had just started dating. Now, in the fifth season of The Crown on Netflix, their relationship is front and center.

Dodi is first seen in “Mou Mou,” the third episode of Season 5. Khalid Abdalla plays him. Dodi is the son of billionaire Mohammed Al Fayed, who used to own Harrods and The Ritz Paris. He wants to make it on his own and has his sights set on the movie business. Season 5 also shows how hard and long it was for Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Prince Charles to split up. In the end, their paths will cross, but we won’t know the full story until Season 6.

In real life, Diana began dating Dodi after she took Prince William and Prince Harry on vacation with his family to St. Tropez. Later, Kelly Fisher, a model, said that she and Dodi were still engaged when the tabloids started talking about his relationship with Diana. Fisher is played in The Crown by Erin Richards.

Here’s a full history of Diana and Dodi’s relationship, including how they met and who Dodi was married to before Diana.

Who was Dodi?

Dodi was the oldest child of Mohamed Al Fayed, a famous, colorful, and controversial figure in the UK who was worth a billion dollars. At the time, Mohamed was the owner of the famous luxury store Harrods in London, the football team Fulham, and the Ritz hotel in Paris, where Diana and Dodi started their fatal drive. Mohamed was estimated to be worth $1.87 billion at the time.

Dodi’s mother was Mohamed’s first wife. Her name was Samira Khashoggi. Her father was King Abdul Aziz’s doctor, and her brother was the Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.

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Dodi was born Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Mena’em Fayed in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1955. He later went to prestigious schools like the exclusive Le Rosey in Switzerland and the Sandhurst military academy in the UK, which Princes William and Harry also went to.

In 1986 They Meet the First Time

The Independent says that Diana meets Dodi for the first time at a polo match in 1986 when he plays against her then-husband, Prince Charles. They wouldn’t see each other again for 11 years.

 

In the third episode of Season 5 of The Crown, Mohammed Al Fayed introduces the Princess of Wales to his son to show how they might have met.

1986 They Merries

According to his death notice in The Independent, Dodi got married to model Suzanne Gregard in the same year. But after only eight months of marriage, they soon split up.

1997 Dodi Gets Engaged to Kelly Fisher

The movie producer was reportedly engaged to model Kelly Fisher before he got back together with Princess Diana. But the wedding didn’t happen because Dodi started dating Diana while she was on vacation with Prince William, Prince Harry, and their families in St. Tropez in the summer of 1997.

She is said to have written him a sweet letter after the trip to thank him for taking her away. The letter said, “This comes with all the love in the world and as always a million heartfelt thanks for making this chick’s life so happy.” This is what the Associated Press says the letter said.

In August of that year, The Sunday Mirror published a shocking photo taken by paparazzi that showed Diana and Dodi holding hands and kissing. This almost certainly proved that they were dating.

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Fisher then hired famous lawyer Gloria Allred to represent her in her lawsuit against Dodi. She filed a breach-of-contract suit, saying that Dodi asked Fisher to put her modeling career on hold so that they could focus on their relationship. Fisher’s modeling career had already landed her on the covers of Elle, W, and other magazines.

During an emotional press conference where Fisher cried while wearing the sapphire and diamond ring Dodi gave her, Allred is said to have said that Dodi was not a good person and “led her emotionally to the altar, then left her right before they got there. He threw away her love in a cruel way, not caring at all about her.

Allred also said that Fisher didn’t find out about Dodi’s affair with Diana until “the kiss photo” was published and spread around the world, to Fisher’s “utter dismay, shock, and shame.”

August 31, 1997: They Get Into a Fatal Car Crash

The couple spent a long time sailing a yacht all along the Mediterranean Sea. Their trip ended on August 30 when they got to Paris, France. There, they stayed the night at the Ritz, which Dodi’s dad, Mohammed, owned.

BBC said that they left the hotel early in the morning of August 31 in a car with driver Henri Paul and bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones. As they drove through the Pont de L’Alma tunnel, paparazzi followed them. Paul, who was reportedly drunk and on drugs at the time, lost control of the car and it crashed.

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AP says that Dodi and Paul died as soon as the plane hit the ground. A French doctor who happened to be nearby and helped Diana remembers that she briefly woke up after being hurt, but she died from her injuries after being taken to a hospital in Paris. Only Rees-Jones made it out alive.

Later, Mohammed’s spokesman said that Dodi and Diana were engaged when they died.

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