Mohamed Al Fayed: Former Harrods and Fulham FC Owner Dies Aged 94 Exactly 26 Years after Son Dodi and Princess Diana Were Killed in Car Crash

Al-Fayed's relationship with the British establishment deteriorated after his application for UK citizenship was denied, despite his vast business interests in the country.

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Mohamed Al Fayed, the billionaire who owned Harrods has died aged 94, almost exactly 26 years to the day after his son was killed alongside Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris. He was born in Egypt and built a thriving business empire in the Middle East before relocating to the United Kingdom during the 1960s.

However, he never achieved his goal of obtaining a British passport. In his later years, he dedicated his attention to questioning the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Dodi and Diana. In the past decade, Al Fayed had largely stayed away from the public eye, living in his Surrey mansion alongside his wife, Heini.

End of an Era

Mohamed Al Fayed
Mohamed Al Fayed Twitter

Al Fayed was born in Alexandria in 1929 and migrated to the United Kingdom in the 1960s. He played a significant role in the early development of Dubai and, along with his brothers, acquired House of Fraser, including Harrods.

He also owned the Ritz hotel in Paris, a property he held until his death.

A funeral service adhering to Islamic customs, which prioritize the immediate burial of the dead, preferably within 24 hours, took place at London Central Mosque in Regents Park on Friday.

He was then laid to rest at Barrow Green Court, his 17th-century country estate located in Oxted, Surrey. Al Fayed was buried at the family mausoleum, adjacent to the resting place of his son, Dodi.

Dodi was initially laid to rest in Brookwood Cemetery near Woking. However, he was later re-interred at Barrow Green Court, the same location where his father, Mohamed Al Fayed, was buried, shortly after his death, The Sun reported.

Mohamed Al Fayed
Mohamed Al Fayed Twitter

Al Fayed also owned the football club Fulham FC. A statement released by Fulham FC and his family, read: "Mrs Mohamed Al Fayed, her children and grandchildren wish to confirm that her beloved husband, their father and their grandfather, Mohamed, has passed away peacefully of old age on Wednesday August 30, 2023.

"He enjoyed a long and fulfilled retirement surrounded by his loved ones. The family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time."

Al Shorouk newspaper reported that Ashraf Haider, a member of his family, wrote on social media: "My wife's grandfather, the Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed, has died. We belong to God and to Him we shall return."

Starting from Scratch to Building and Empire

Mohamed Al-Fayed began his career by selling carbonated beverages and later as a sewing-machine salesman. He went on to amass his family's wealth through ventures in real estate, shipping, and construction, initially in the Middle East and then expanding into Europe.

Mohamed Al Fayed
Mohamed Al Fayed in front of the photographs of his son Didi Al Fayed and Princess Diana Twitter

Through his business success and philanthropic endeavors, he became closely associated with prominent figures in the United Kingdom, ranging from celebrities to members of the royal family.

It is believed that Al-Fayed met Princess Diana and Prince Charles at a polo match during the 1980s, and it was through this connection that he introduced Diana to his son, Dodi.

Despite his extensive business interests, Mohamed Al-Fayed was perhaps most widely recognized for his persistent quest for answers regarding the circumstances surrounding the tragic crash that claimed the lives of Dodi and Diana on August 31, 1997—almost exactly 26 years before his own death.

Mohamed Al Fayed
Mohamed Al Fayed with Princess Diana Twitter

Diana, who had divorced Prince Charles in 1992, was frequently photographed alongside Dodi in St Tropez in 1997, which fueled rumors of a romance.

The couple was together on the ill-fated morning of August 31 that year, as they tried to leave the Ritz Hotel in Paris.

They were being driven away from pursuing paparazzi by Henri Paul, the deputy head of security at the hotel, when Paul lost control of the car and collided with a pillar at approximately 65 mph.

Al-Fayed launched his own private investigation following his dissatisfaction with the official investigations into the crash and promoted a series of conspiracy theories alleging that there was establishment involvement in the deaths of Dodi and Diana.

However, a 2008 inquest ultimately concluded that Dodi and Diana had been unlawfully killed due to a combination of factors, including Henri Paul's impaired driving under the influence of alcohol, the absence of seatbelts, and the erratic driving of paparazzi pursuing them through the early morning streets of Paris.

Princess Diana
Princess Diana Twitter

Al-Fayed's relationship with the British establishment deteriorated after his application for UK citizenship was denied, despite his vast business interests in the country.

He frequently threatened to relocate to France, where he received the Legion of Honour, the nation's highest civilian award.

Mohamed Al-Fayed was later immortalized in the Netflix series "The Crown," portrayed by Israeli actor Salim Daw. Daw is set to reprise his role in the upcoming series, which will delve into the crash that claimed the lives of Al-Fayed's son and Princess Diana.