Before the summer of 1997, Dodi Fayed was known to the public as the socialite son of Egyptian billionaire, Mohamed Al-Fayed. The events of that year’s summer break made him a household name around the world as he began a relationship with activist, international icon, and ex-wife of the heir to the British throne, Princess Diana. While the two had only known each other for about a month, their names will forever be intertwined with one another as they died side by side each other in a car crash in Paris on the 31st of August, 1997.
Anyone with good memory on the most notable events of the early 90s will remember the headline-grabbing stories about the British royal family, particularly those about the separation and subsequent divorce of Diana from Prince Charles. The two, who had gotten married in 1981, were involved in well-publicized extramarital affairs that came about as a result of their incompatibility and significant age difference.
As the story goes, after just five years into the marriage, Charles reignited his relationship with his former girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles, in 1986. According to him, he did so when it became obvious that he and Diana’s marriage had “irretrievably broken down”. After finding out about the relationship, Diana began an affair with the family’s former riding instructor, Major James Hewitt.
Details about the Charles’ and Diana’s marriage became public knowledge in 1992 when tabloid newspapers leaked phone conversations of each of them with their significant others. The pair ended up separating in December of that year, giving room for Diana to allegedly go ahead and date other people. The public spat between the former couple did not end there as Diana went on to question her husband’s suitability for kingship in an interview in 1995. She further blamed Camilla for over-crowding her marriage as she revealed she suffered from depression, bulimia, and engaged in self-mutilation.
The two ended up getting a divorce in 1996 after Queen Elizabeth II advised them to do so. Diana, Princess of Wales had prior to then already begun a relationship that lasted for two years with British-Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. The relationship ended in July 1997, a month after which she began seeing Dodi Fayed, whose father had invited her to join him and his family in the south of France for the summer.
Diana accepted the invitation after having considered going to Thailand or the Hamptons, New York but was prevented by security officials. She reportedly agreed to his offer due to the fact that the Fayed family had a compound and large security details that would not cause concern to the Royal Protection squad.
Mohamed Al-Fayed had further purchased a 60-meter multimillion-pound yacht named the Jonikal in order to entertain Diana and her sons.
How Rich Was Dodi Fayed Before Death?
As mentioned above, Dodi Fayed is the son of billionaire businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed. Some of the businesses which his father owns include Hotel Ritz Paris, Balnagowan Castle & Estates, gentleman bespoke shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser, and the New York City skyscraper 75 Rockefeller Plaza. In the past, Al-Fayed used to own the Harrods Department Store, Knightsbridge, which was sold for £1.5 billion to Qatar Holdings, the sovereign wealth fund of the country of Qatar, on 10 May 2010. He also owned West London professional football club Fulham F.C., which he sold in 2013 to Pakistani American businessman, Shahid Khan.
Dodi, who attended Yale University and briefly spent some time at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, made a career out of producing films. Some of the films he served as executive producer of include Chariots of Fire (1981), Breaking Glass (1980), F/X (1986), F/X2 (1991), Hook (1991), and The Scarlet Letter (1995). In addition to his film producing career, he also worked for his father on Harrods’ marketing.
Through these roles, and thanks to the wealth of his father, Dodi Fayed was able to live a very lavish life, however, his exact net worth as at the time of his death was never determined. His father’s net worth, on the other hand, is said to be about $1.5 billion.
What Led To His Death?
After having spent more than a week with Princess Diana on holiday in the French and Italian Rivieras aboard the Fayed family yacht, Dodi Fayed and his companion stopped to spend a night in Paris on August 30, 1997, before heading back to London. They originally stayed in the Ritz Hotel before deciding to leave to stay in an apartment in Rue Arsène Houssaye.
The deputy head of security at the Ritz Hotel, Henri Paul, was instructed to drive a hired black 1994 Mercedes-Benz W140 in order to elude the paparazzi as a decoy vehicle left the Ritz first from the main entrance, attracting a throng of photographers. Fayed and Diana departed from the hotel’s rear entrance, occupying the back of the vehicle while a member of the Fayed family’s personal protection team, Trevor Rees-Jones, sat in the (right) front passenger seat.
At about half an hour after midnight, Paul, who was supposedly speeding to get away from paparazzi, lost control of the vehicle at the entrance to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, causing it to collide head-on with the 13th pillar in the tunnel. The driver was pronounced dead on removal from the wreckage while the bodyguard suffered multiple serious facial injuries and a head contusion. Dodi Fayed was pronounced dead shortly afterward while Diana died in the hospital from the extensive internal injuries she suffered.