Who was Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed – and what was his link to Diana?

Who was Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed – and what was his link to Diana?
Mohamed Al-Fayed has died aged 94
Bang Showbiz/VideoElephant

Mohamed Al Fayed, the former owner of Harrods department store and Fulham Football Club, has died at the age of 94, his family have confirmed.

The billionaire, who owned Hotel Ritz Paris before his passing on Wednesday, was buried at London Central Mosque – near Regent’s Park – on Friday. He was named the fourth richest person in Scotland on the Sunday Times Rich List this year, with a fortune of £1.69 billion.

Al Fayed was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1929, and 25 years later married Saudi Arabian journalist Samira Khashoggi – the aunt of reporter Jamal Khashoggi who was assassinated by the Saudi government in 2018.

In the world of politics, Al Fayed made headlines in 1994 when he claimed via The Guardian that two Tory MPs received money from him to ask questions in the House of Commons on his behalf – a scandal often referred to as ‘cash for questions’.

Tim Smith, once the MP for Beaconsfield, stood down in 1997 after admitting to constituents that he took the cash, while the second MP Neil Hamilton (now the leader of Ukip) sued Al Fayed for libel over the allegations only to lose the court case in 1999.

He had lost his Tatton seat to an anti-corruption independent candidate in the general election two years prior.

As if all that wasn’t dramatic enough, Al Fayed was also well-known for his comments on the royal family, after his son Dodi was killed in the same 1997 car crash which claimed the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Dodi and Diana were lovers at the time of the tragic incident – one which Al Fayed went on to repeatedly claim was a murder plot by the security services and the late Duke of Edinburgh.

He eventually accepted the unlawful killing verdicts from the six-month inquest into deaths – which saw the jury pin the blame on the drink driving of chauffer Henri Paul – albeit “with reservations”.

He was played by Bafta nominee Salim Daw in the fifth season of hit Netflix series The Crown, in which Al Fayed is seen getting to know Diana.

In a statement released by Fulham FC, the billionaire’s family confirmed Al Fayed “passed away peacefully of old age” and “enjoyed a long and fulfilled retirement surrounded by his loved ones”.

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