Princess Diana's romance with Dodi Fayed, the Egyptian-born film magnate, was just beginning when the two died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997. Now, their relationship has taken centerstage in the sixth and final season of Netflix's The Crown.
The show first introduced Dodi (played by Khalid Abdalla) in Season 5's third episode, "Mou Mou." As the son of billionaire Mohammed Al Fayed, who formerly owned Harrods department store and The Ritz Paris, Dodi is desperate to eke out his own success, particularly setting his sights on the film industry. Meanwhile, Season 5 also showed the long and messy road to divorce between Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Prince Charles (Dominic West). Eventually, their paths converge—and you'll have to tune into Season 6 to see their full story.
In real life, Diana and Dodi started dating after she took Prince William and Prince Harry to St. Tropez to vacation with his family. Later, model Kelly Fisher would claim that she and Dodi were still engaged at the time the tabloids started reporting on his romance with Diana. (Fisher is portrayed by Erin Richards in The Crown.)
Ahead, we break down the full timeline of Diana and Dodi's relationship, including where they met and who Dodi used to be married to.
1986: They reportedly meet for the first time.
Diana meets Dodi for the first time during a 1986 polo match, in which he competed against her then-husband, Prince Charles, according to The Independent. They would not reconnect again until 11 years later.
The Crown portrays a retelling of this alleged meeting in the third episode of Season 5, during which Mohammed Al Fayed introduces the Princess of Wales to his son.
1986: He marries.
That same year, Dodi got hitched to model Suzanne Gregard, according to his obituary in The Independent. However, the two soon divorced after eight months of marriage.
1997: Dodi gets engaged to Kelly Fisher. Diana goes on vacation with his family in St. Tropez and the two begin dating.
Prior to reconnecting with Princess Diana, the film producer was reportedly engaged to model Kelly Fisher. But, the engagement was called off after Dodi struck up a courtship with Diana during her St. Tropez vacation with Prince William, Prince Harry, and his family in the summer of 1997.
After the holiday, she reportedly wrote him an affectionate letter to express her gratitude for the trip. "This comes with all the love in the world and as always a million heartfelt thanks for bringing such joy into this chick's life," the letter read, according to the Associated Press.
In August of that year, The Sunday Mirror published an explosive paparazzi shot of Diana and Dodi embracing and kissing, all but confirming their relationship.
In response, Fisher hired celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred to represent her in her lawsuit against Dodi, in which she filed a breach-of-contract suit claiming that Dodi asked Fisher—whose modeling career had thus far landed her covers on Elle, W, and other magazines—toput her career on hold in order to prioritize their relationship.
During an emotional press conference in which Fisher sobbed while wearing the sapphire and diamond ring Dodi bought her, Allred reportedly said that Dodi "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."
Allred also claimed that Fisher didn't learn about Dodi's infidelity with Diana until "the `kiss photo' that was published and circulated around the world to Miss Fisher's utter dismay, shock and shame."
August 31, 1997: They get into a fatal car crash.
After enjoying an extended yachting holiday all along the Mediterranean Sea, the couple's trip ended when they arrived in Paris, France on August 30th. There, they spent the night at the Ritz, the hotel Mohammed, Dodi's father, owned.
Early in the morning on August 31st, BBC reported that the two departed the hotel in a car, along with driver Henri Paul and bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones. Paparazzi pursued their car as they drove into the Pont de L'Alma tunnel, at which point Paul—who was reportedly intoxicated and under the influence of drugs at the time—lost control of the vehicle and crashed.
Dodi and Paul died immediately upon impact, according to AP. A French doctor who happened upon the scene and offered his medical assistance recalled that Diana briefly regained consciousness, but she ultimately died from her injuries after being relocated to a Paris hospital. Rees-Jones was the only survivor.
Mohammed's spokesman would later claim that Dodi and Diana were engaged at the time of their deaths.
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