The Crown season 5 revisits Princess Diana’s friendship with billionaire businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed, the father of Dodi Al-Fayed, Diana’s last boyfriend. Dodi and Diana met in 1986 and remained friends until 1997 when their relationship turned romantic. The couple’s relationship didn’t last long: they passed away in a car crash in Paris in late August 1997.
Mohamed denied their deaths were an accident, claiming that the crash was planned by a member of the royal family. “I believe in my heart 99.9% that it was not an accident,” Al-Fayed told The Mirror. Al-Fayed eventually relented, accepting a jury’s verdict that negligent driving caused Diana and Dodi’s deaths.
Mohamed Al-Fayed is alive and enjoying his riches away from the limelight
The 93-year-old Mohamed Al-Fayed is alive and lives in his Barrow Green Court Estate in Oxted, Surrey. Al-Fayed has abandoned his love for the red carpet and excursions on his yachts, embracing life away from the limelight.
Mohamed’s youngest son, Omar, told The Daily Mail that Mohamed is happily retired and in good health. Omar said Al-Fayed exercises daily by walking around the estate, despite suffering from a bad back. The outlet refuted Omar’s assertions, citing sources close to Mohamed who claim he’s frail and ‘near the end’.
Al-Fayed said it was time to enjoy the fruits of his labor when he sold Harrods to Qatar Holdings in May 2010. Mohamed sold the company for a reported $2.4 billion two weeks after stating Harrods wasn’t for sale. The billionaire told the Evening Standard:
“Of course it makes me sad. You can go ask everyone, people don’t want me to go. But first of all, I can’t take this. I am 77 years old, right. I have children, I have grandchildren, you know… I have done it. And time for me now to rest. And enjoy.”
Sexual assault allegations have interrupted Mohamed’s retirement but haven’t caused him or his business much harm. Al-Fayed has faced multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations, mostly from former employees of Harrods. Journalist Maureen Orth wrote in Vanity Fair:
“Fayed regularly walked the store on the lookout for young, attractive women to work in his office. Those who rebuffed him would often be subjected to crude, humiliating comments about their appearance or dress.”
The most recent accusations came from an anonymous woman who spoke to Channel 4 News in 2018 about being assaulted by Mohamed. The woman said she notified the authorities, but they dropped the case, citing conflicting and unreliable evidence.
Al-Fayed’s children are reportedly jostling to control his estate
Jasmine and Karim, Mohamed’s oldest children, have shown little interest in their father’s estate, leaving Camilla and Omar to jostle for control of Mohamed’s immense wealth.
Camilla and Omar’s conflict became public knowledge after Omar sued Camilla in September 2021, claiming her husband and bodyguards assaulted him and deleted evidence of the alleged attack.
She responded by claiming Omar was hooked on hard drugs and was a source of embarrassment for the family. Omar told The Daily Mail that he wasn’t a drug user, insisting he was the victim of a sibling power struggle sparked by the imminent demise of the family’s patriarch.
“It’s quite a common drama where there are families with an elder leader figure who is in his winter period of life,” Omar said. “I’m not vying for top-dog position. I am really seeking to encourage harmony. Dad’s wish has always been that everybody at the family level is equal.”
Camilla claimed Omar plays no part in the family business due to his alleged erratic behavior. Omar said Camilla was trying to push him out and gain control. “Some people derive great happiness from materialistic pursuits – all that vying for power and the prestige,” Omar said.
Camilla reportedly inherited Mohamed’s business acumen and tough-minded approach. “Now, in my father’s decline, everybody’s scrambling around, throwing lawyers around left, right, and center,” Omar said. The times when Camilla and Omar got along are long gone, Omar said. “It’s sad and unfortunate,” he added.
Mohamed remains oblivious to the power struggle happening in his backyard. The Daily Mail reported that Heini, Mohamed’s second wife, cut out newspaper pages referring to the children’s battles.
At the moment, Mohamed controls his properties, including New York apartments, a Scottish castle, and Barrow Green Court. It’ll be interesting to see which Al-Fayed offspring comes out on top.