In an unexpected twist, Princess Diana is arguably more popular in death than in life. This is due in no small part to the success of the television show The Crown. Beginning in the fifth season, actor Elizabeth Debicki helped bring Diana to life for the small screen.
This means entirely new generations are getting to fall in love with Diana. After her messy divorce from Prince Charles, Diana wasn’t always lucky in love. And she had a brief romance with Dodi Fayed before they both died.
But who was Fayed? Why did they get together, and did Diana have any secret motivations? Keep reading to discover the tragic answers!
Who was Dodi Fayed?
Dodi Fayed was an Egyptian billionaire and movie producer. His father Mohamed Al Fayed is a billionaire and a businessman who owns companies throughout Europe.
In other words, Dodi Fayed was somebody well-suited to romance Princess Diana. The entire world knew that she was once married to the future King of England. Once you’ve experienced something like that, you can’t get with just anyone.
Fayed proved to be a loving and faithful companion, and they were quite literally together until they both died. This makes their romance sound like something truly epic. And while we like to think they loved each other very deeply, their romantic time together was shockingly short.
A short-lived romance
Thanks to classic tales like Romeo and Juliet, we are conditioned to think dying with your lover is very romantic. That’s quite debatable, but Diana’s relationship with Dodi Fayed does have one thing in common with those famous star-crossed lovers: their time together was very short!
According to Time, the two may have met as early as 1986 during a polo match. In a real “truth is stranger than fiction” moment, Diana’s then-husband Charles was playing on one side and Fayed was playing for the other. Diana would have had no way of knowing this, of course, but it’s interesting to think that her then-lover and future lover competed against one another on the field.
When did the actual romance start, though? It’s impossible to know for sure, but they likely began dating around July 1997. That means the two were together for only a few months before they died. And depending on who you talk to, Diana’s primary motivation in the relationship may have been to make another man jealous!
Princess Diana’s murky motivations for the romance
Dodi Fayed was the last man that Princess Diana was ever in a relationship with. However, there were men before them, and it looks like Diana may have been dating Fayed to make one of those men jealous.
The man in question is Hasnat Khan. He was a heart surgeon of British-Pakistani descent, and he certainly knew his way around Diana’s heart when they dated between 1995 to 1997. According to Marie Claire, Diana was really head over heels in love with Khan. Those that knew Diana best claimed she called Khan her ‘soulmate” and “love of her life,” and she even had a cloying nickname for him: “Mr. Wonderful.”
What caused the end of the relationship, though? Vanity Fair reports that Khan didn’t like all the media attention that came from dating a princess. However, this doesn’t mean that Diana gave up on the idea of getting him back!
In an interview with Vanity Fair, royal guru Tina Brown claimed Diana got with Fayed to make Khan jealous. This is allegedly why she and Fayed took those famous photographs aboard his yacht back in 1997!
The tragic accident that claimed their lives
Whether Diana really loved Fayed or it was all just a ruse, their time together was cut short. This is because both of them died in an infamous traffic accident on August 31, 1997.
The narrative surrounding how they died has evolved over the years. For example, they died because Diana’s driver, Henri Paul, was trying to avoid the swarming paparazzi. This led to a well-deserved condemnation of aggressive and sensationalistic “journalism.” Of course, Paul was also under the influence and driving at twice the speed limit when he lost control and fatally crashed into the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris.
Paul died alongside Diana in that crash, and so did Fayed. And just one more tragic element of this story is that, before the crash, the two likely felt very safe and secure!
The day before the crash
Remember when we mentioned that Fayed’s father owns properties all throughout Europe and the rest of the world? This includes big names like Harrods in London and the Hôtel Ritz in Paris. In fact, Diana and Fayed spent some time together in the Ritz the day before each of them died.
In other words, they likely felt very safe and secure, staying in one of the most prominent hotels in the world that Fayed’s family just happened to know. And the fact they went from this level of safety and security to unexpected chaos and death the next day merely adds to the tragedy of their passing.
Soon, The Crown will cover the death of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. And only time will tell if the show sheds any new light on the circumstances of that fateful, fatal day in 1997.