The Crown: Did Dodi really propose to somebody else just before he met Diana?


Season five of Netflix’s The Crown is here. The hit historical drama sees Imelda Staunton taking over from Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, while Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West will take the parts of Diana and Charles respectively.

Charles’ extramarital affair with Camilla Parker Bowles will also feature, alongside the dissolving marriage of Charles and Diana, which the new series will follow.

The royal couple, who married in 1981, announced their separation in 1992 after a turbulent relationship. Their divorce was finalised in 1996.

But what happened to the couple next and what was Diana’s relationship with Dodi Fayed really like? Here’s everything you need to know.

Who is Dodi Fayed and how did he meet Diana?

Dodi Fayed was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1955, and was the oldest son of billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, who owned the luxury London department store Harrods and the Ritz hotel in Paris.

Raised Muslim, Fayed lived a life of luxury and went to school in Switzerland before attending the British military academy Sandhurst.

A permanent memorial to Diana and Dodi in London’s Harrods department store (AFP via Getty Images)
A permanent memorial to Diana and Dodi in London’s Harrods department store (AFP via Getty Images)

He went on to be stationed as a United Arab Emirates junior officer in London, before moving into filmmaking.

Diana first began dating Fayed in July 1997.

Their paths reportedly crossed as early as 1986 during a polo match that Fayed and King Charles were both competing in, but the pair did not become close until Fayed’s father invited Diana and her children to be his guests in St Tropez in summer 1997.

Diana began to spend more time with Fayed, with the couple’s every move documented by the media.

Photos of the pair kissing made headlines around the world in early August 1997 and reportedly sold for more than £1m.

Did Dodi Fayed propose to Diana?

Diana in January 1996 (AFP via Getty Images)
Diana in January 1996 (AFP via Getty Images)

At the inquest into the couple’s death in 2008, Mohamed Al-Fayed’s press spokesperson, Michael Cole, said that Dodi had given Diana a ring hours before their death, the meaning of which “we shall probably never know”.

He added that Dodi had given him “the strongest indication that he was going to marry Diana”, however, and that the pair had been planning to purchase a house in Malibu where they would live once married.

Mr Cole said: “Dodi said, ‘There will never be another woman for me, Michael, never ever.’

“He was a man in love and there was no doubt about it in my mind.”

Mohamed Al-Fayed also claimed that during one of the couple’s European cruises, they went into the Repossi jewellery store in Monte Carlo where they chose an engagement ring.

Evidence heard from Dodi’s bodyguard, John Johnson, told the inquest that the pair were just “window shopping”, however.

Did Dodi really propose to someone else before he met Diana?

Kelly Fisher and her lawyer, Gloria Allred, at a press conference in Beverly Hills in 1997 (AFP via Getty Images)
Kelly Fisher and her lawyer, Gloria Allred, at a press conference in Beverly Hills in 1997 (AFP via Getty Images)

US model Kelly Fisher claimed that she and Fayed had become engaged in early summer 1997, with a tentative wedding date set for 9 August 1997.

And in 2006, one of Fayed’s closest aides, Sara Blackiston, further claimed that Dodi had been seeing both women at once, with neither woman aware that they were together in St Tropez with the same man.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Ms Blackiston said: “It was hilarious. Dodi had Diana in the boat and Kelly in the villa, or vice versa.

“For someone who was renowned for daydreaming, it was some feat, flitting back and forth, with neither woman knowing.

“Eventually, I gather his father told him he had to send Kelly away and that he was to concentrate just on Diana.”

After photographs of Diana and Fayed kissing made headlines, Fisher filed a lawsuit against Dodi for breaking off their engagement.

During a Beverly Hills press conference on 14 August 1997, Fisher made an emotional appearance wearing an enormous sapphire and diamond ring on her wedding finger.

Reading from a prepared statement, her lawyer, Gloria Allred, said that Fayed, “led her emotionally all the way up to the altar and abandoned her when they were almost there. He threw her love away in a callous way with no regard for her whatsoever”.

Ms Fisher subsequently dropped the lawsuit following the death of Dodi and Diana on 31 August 1997.

The pair were killed in a car crash in a road tunnel in Paris after being pursued by paparazzi.

Published by anthonyhayble

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