Who was Dodi Fayed? All About Princess Diana’s Boyfriend

Who was Dodi Fayed? All About Princess Diana’s Boyfriend

Dodi Fayed, an Egyptian film producer known for his relationship with Princess Diana, led a life marked by wealth, public scrutiny, and tragedy. As the son of billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, Dodi experienced the highs of a lavish lifestyle but also faced intense media attention, especially during his relationship with Diana.

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This article explores the life and legacy of Dodi Fayed, offering insights into his background, career, and the events leading up to his untimely death alongside Princess Diana in 1997.

Who was Dodi Fayed?

Dodi Fayed was a notable Egyptian movie producer, known less for his films and more for his high-profile lifestyle, supported by his billionaire father, the owner of London’s Harrods department store. His film credits include works like Chariots of Fire, F/X, and Hook by Steven Spielberg.

Film Producer Dodi al Fayed (Photo by © Aaron Rapoport/CORBIS OUTLINE/Corbis via Getty Images)

In the summer of 1997, Fayed became romantically involved with Princess Diana. Tragically, both lost their lives in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997, while being pursued by paparazzi. Dodi Fayed was 42 at the time of his death.

When was Dodi Fayed born?

Dodi Fayed’s commonly accepted date of birth is April 15, 1955, as confirmed by multiple sources and also inscribed on his gravestone. This date is widely recognized and cited in historical records and biographies. However, since 2022, a few sources have begun to claim an alternative birth date of April 17, 1955. These discrepancies are not uncommon in public figures’ biographical details, leading to some confusion about the exact date.

Early life and education

Dodi Fayed was born in Alexandria, Egypt, as the eldest child of Mohamed Al Fayed, who would later own notable establishments such as Harrods department store, Fulham Football Club, and the Hôtel Ritz Paris. His mother, Samira Khashoggi, was a Saudi author of Turkish descent and the sister of the infamous Saudi billionaire arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi. Dodi was related to Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist who was tragically assassinated in 2018. Dodi’s family extended to include four half-siblings from his father’s second marriage.

For his education, Dodi attended Collège Saint Marc in Alexandria and later the prestigious Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland. He also spent a brief period at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK. Before stepping into the business and film industries, he served as an attaché at the United Arab Emirates Embassy in London.

Professional Career

Dodi Fayed began his career in the entertainment industry by founding Allied Stars Ltd. in 1979, a movie production company financed by his father’s wealth. His company’s initial project was Breaking Glass (1980), followed by the critically acclaimed Chariots of Fire in 1981, which won four Oscars, including Best Picture. Despite receiving an executive producer credit, Fayed was not deeply involved in the production, only visiting the set sporadically.

The success of Chariots of Fire prompted Fayed to move his company to Los Angeles, where he produced F/X in 1986, a commercial success that led to a sequel in 1991. That same year, he served as executive producer for Steven Spielberg’s Hook, based on his partial ownership of the movie rights to J.M. Barrie’s story of Peter Pan.

Fayed’s later project, The Scarlet Letter (1995) starring Demi Moore, encountered issues when he sold distribution rights he did not own. Despite the challenges, Fayed’s career was marked by significant involvement in several high-profile films and contributions to his father’s business, particularly in marketing for Harrods.

His life and career were later depicted in media, with portrayals by Cas Anvar in the 2013 film “Diana,” and by Khalid Abdalla in “The Crown,” earning Abdalla a Critics’ Choice Television Award nomination in 2023.

Personal life

Dodi Fayed’s personal life was marked by brief and high-profile relationships. In 1986, he married model Suzanne Gregard, but the marriage ended in divorce just eight months later. He also had an intermittent romance with actress Claudia Christian, detailed in her memoir Babylon Confidential.

(Dody Fayed mit Ex- Ehefrau Suzanne Gregard, (Photo by Peter Bischoff/Getty Images))

In 1997, Fayed’s romantic ties shifted dramatically. He reportedly became engaged to American model Kelly Fisher and purchased a house in Malibu, California, for them, funded by his father. However, his relationship with Fisher ended abruptly when he became romantically involved with Diana, Princess of Wales, in July 1997, after hosting her on his yacht, Cujo.

Getty Images: In July 1997, Princess Diana vacationed with her sons, Princes William and Harry, in Saint Tropez, France, with Mohamed Al Fayed’s family. During the trip, Diana and Dodi Fayed reportedly began a romantic relationship.

Fisher was blindsided by Fayed’s new relationship with Diana, discovering it through paparazzi photos. She responded by filing a breach of contract lawsuit against him, claiming he had led her nearly to marriage before abandoning her. Fayed denied the engagement claims, and Fisher eventually dropped the lawsuit following Fayed’s tragic death.

Death and Legacy

Dodi Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales, tragically died in a car crash on August 31, 1997, in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. They were traveling from a holiday on the French and Italian Rivieras, making a brief stop in Paris en route to London. Neither Fayed nor Diana was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. The crash’s sole survivor was their bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, who was wearing a seatbelt and sustained serious injuries but survived.

Getty Images: A memorial for Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed at Harrods after their deaths

Investigations into the accident by French and British authorities concluded that the chauffeur, Henri Paul, was under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs and that the paparazzi pursuing them contributed to the tragic event. Mohamed Al-Fayed, Dodi’s father, controversially claimed that the couple had been deliberately killed by MI6 agents. Following the accident, Fayed was initially buried in Brookwood Cemetery but was later re-interred on his family estate in Oxted, Surrey.

To honor their memory, Mohamed Al-Fayed erected two memorials at Harrods. The first featured personal items and a ring purchased by Fayed before the accident; the second, a bronze statue of the couple, symbolized their perceived innocence and tragic end. The statue, known as “Innocent Victims,” was later returned to the Fayed family in 2018.

Net Worth

Dodi Fayed’s personal net worth, while not precisely quantified, was widely reported to be in the range of millions. His lifestyle, funded largely by his affluent family, included the use of luxury yachts, private jets, and multiple residences, reflecting a high level of financial privilege. His father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, provided him with a substantial monthly allowance, which was reported to be either $100,000 or £400,000. Despite this, Dodi was known to frequently exceed his budget, leading to various financial disputes and legal challenges from creditors.

While Dodi enjoyed considerable financial support, he did not achieve the same level of business success as his father. Mohamed Al-Fayed was a highly successful businessman who owned significant assets such as the Harrods department store, Fulham Football Club, and the Ritz Paris hotel. He attempted to integrate Dodi into his enterprises, including appointing him to the board of Harrods and purchasing a Ferrari dealership for him, though these ventures were short-lived or unsuccessful.

By the time of his death in August 2023, Mohamed Al-Fayed’s net worth was estimated to be around $2 billion, a stark contrast to Dodi’s more tumultuous financial dealings and lesser business achievements.


Dodi Fayed, a figure often in the spotlight due to his extravagant lifestyle and high-profile connections, notably with Princess Diana, lived a life filled with both luxury and public scrutiny. Despite his ventures in the film industry, including producing the Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire, his personal life and untimely death garnered more attention.

His fatal car crash with Diana in 1997, under controversial and highly publicized circumstances, sealed his legacy as a tragic figure intertwined with royal intrigue and media frenzy. His life epitomizes the complexities and challenges of living under the glare of perpetual public observation, amplified by wealth and fame.

FAQs About Dodi Fayed
  1. Who was Dodi Fayed? Dodi Fayed was an Egyptian film producer known for his work on films like Chariots of Fire and Hook. He was also famous for his relationship with Princess Diana.
  2. How did Dodi Fayed die? Dodi Fayed died in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris on August 31, 1997, along with Princess Diana.
  3. What was Dodi Fayed’s relationship with Princess Diana? Dodi Fayed became romantically involved with Princess Diana in the summer of 1997, after spending time with her on his family’s yacht. Their relationship was highly publicized and ended tragically with their deaths.
  4. What was Dodi Fayed’s net worth? Dodi Fayed’s exact net worth is not documented, but he was considered a millionaire or multimillionaire, having access to his family’s wealth, including luxury properties, yachts, and cars.
  5. Did Dodi Fayed have any significant business roles? Dodi Fayed was involved in several of his father’s business ventures, including being appointed to the board of Harrods and owning a Ferrari dealership. However, these roles were not particularly successful, and he did not achieve his father’s level of business success.

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