In August 1997, Princess Diana was photographed kissing Dodi Fayed. Weeks later, they were gone.

During the summer of 1997, Princess Diana’s relationship with Dodi Fayed was all anyone could talk about. The most famous woman in the world was dating the son of billionaire, Mohamed Al-Fayed.

Many will remember the tabloid splash 'The Kiss', where a paparazzi shot of the new couple kissing aboard his yacht was front page news. The picture sold for over $2 million, encouraging the already frenzied paparazzi to become even more relentless in their pursuit. 

Diana and Dodi were together for one summer before they both died in a high-speed car crash in Paris. Diana was 36, and Dodi was 42.

The first four episodes The Crown season six focus on Diana and Dodi's relationship, from their lavish holiday in Saint-Tropez with Princes William and Harry, to the aftermath of their deaths on August 31, 1997.

Who was Dodi Fayed?

Dodi was born in Egypt in 1955, the eldest son of Harrods tycoon Mohamed Al-Fayed and Samira Khashoggi (his uncle was Saudi Arabian-born billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.) Dodi was a film producer, receiving credits in HookThe Scarlet Letter and Chariots of Fire. He divided his time between London, Paris, the Riviera and Cairo.

Dodi Fayed, pictured in early August 1997. Source: Getty.


How did Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed meet?

The pair met over a decade before they became romantically involved at a polo event that Diana attended with ex-husband Prince Charles in 1986. They also ran in the same circles in London.

But it wasn't until Dodi’s father invited Diana on a luxury holiday in June 1997 that they grew close.  

Mohamed Al-Fayed was an old friend of Diana's father, the late Earl Spencer. Diana accepted the invitation to stay at his palatial villa in St Tropez with her sons Prince William, then 15, and Prince Harry, then 12.

When did Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed start their relationship?

Dodi is said to have admired Diana from afar but set his sights firmly upon her during the group holiday in July 1997. He showered her with lavish gifts after their luxury break - a Cartier watch, baskets of tropical fruit, and enough roses to fill an entire room.

They became romantically involved and holidayed on the Mediterranean Sea together, in between Diana’s charitable visits to Bosnia and Angola in support of landmine victims, and New York City to meet with Mother Teresa.


Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. Source: Getty.

Was Dodi Fayed married?

Dodi was married to model Suzanne Gregard in 1986 but their marriage only lasted for eight months. 

He had a reputation for being a bit of a playboy. Partly due to his immense wealth and the fact he’d been linked to many models and celebrities, including Winona Ryder and Brooke Shields. 

The biggest controversy is that he might have been dating Princess Diana and American model Kelly Fisher at the same time, if Fisher's claims are to be believed.


He was engaged to Fisher earlier in 1997 and she told the tabloids he left her for Diana during the group holiday in Saint-Tropez.

Fisher tried to sue him for $500,000 because she said she had sacrificed her modelling career to marry him but she dropped the case out of respect for his family when he died.

What happened the night Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed died?

Diana and Dodi’s final holiday began on August 22, 1997, when they flew to the Med to cruise from the South of France to Sardinia.

It was in Sardinia that the Italian paparazzi caught up with them. The couple called time on their nine-day holiday to return to London via Paris.

But Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed never made it back to London.

On August 31, 1997, Diana and Dodi dined at his father's Ritz hotel in Paris. They were pursued by French paparazzi on motorbikes on leaving their dinner and crashed into a pillar in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel.

Diana, Dodi and driver Henri Paul all died in the crash. Paul was over the drink driving limit and an inquest later blamed grossly negligent driving by Paul and the pursuing paparazzi.

Were Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed engaged?

Khalid Abdalla and Elizabeth Debicki as Dodi and Diana in The Crown season six. Image: Netflix.


Dodi's father Mohamed Al-Fayed claimed a ring that Dodi purchased for Diana shortly before their deaths was going to be an engagement ring. The ring in question was put on display in the London Harrods store in 1998. It is alleged Dodi bought the $21,000 engagement ring only a few hours before the couple's death. Whether the couple would have stayed together is contested by those who knew Diana.

Her former press secretary Michael Gibbons questioned whether the relationship would last the summer in an interview with The Sun.

However Michael Cole, a former BBC royal correspondent who knew the couple, said he'd no doubt they were the real deal and they would have got married. 

This article was published in 2019 and updated in 2022. 

Feature image: Getty.