Mohamed Al Fayed, former owner of the famed Harrods department store in London whose son was killed in a car crash with Princess Diana, has died at 94.
The Egyptian businessman, the dad of Princess Diana‘s lover Dodi, died on Wednesday, his family confirmed.
Who was Mohamed Al Fayed?
Mohamed Al Fayed was an Egyptian business magnate who owns The Hotel Ritz, a grand palatial hotel in the heart of Paris. The hotel which is ranked highly among the most prestigious and luxurious hotels in the world, was acquired by him in 1979.
He was also the former owner of the Harrods Department Store, an upmarket department store located on the Brompton Road in Knightsbridge which he eventually sold to Qatar Holdings in 2010.
An astute businessman with business holdings all over the world, he started displaying his entrepreneurial abilities while still at school when he started selling home-made lemonade.
As a young man he married the sister of a powerful businessman, and eventually set up his own ventures with the influence of his brother-in-law.
Even though his marriage did not last long, he was able to establish himself as a successful businessman by way of this union.
He founded a shipping company in Egypt along with his brothers, and soon expanded its operations to Italy and England.
He formed connections with other international business magnates and acquired ownership of several successful businesses from all over the world.
He is also a philanthropist who set up the Al-Fayed Charitable Foundation in order to support children with life-limiting illnesses and those from underprivileged backgrounds.
Mohamed Al Fayed Bio
Fayed was born in the Roshdy neighborhood of Alexandria, in the Kingdom of Egypt, the eldest son of an Egyptian primary school teacher from Asyut. His year of birth has been disputed.
His website, alfayed.com, used to claim he was born in 1933, but the Department of Trade found his year of birth was 1929.
The website changed his birthyear from “1933” to “1929” in 2011. His brothers Ali and Salah have been his business colleagues.
Fayed was married from 1954 to 1956 to Samira Khashoggi. He worked with his wife’s brother, Saudi Arabian arms dealer and businessman Adnan Khashoggi.
Sometime in the early 1970s, he began using “Al-Fayed” rather than “Fayed”. His brothers Ali and Salah followed suit at the time of their acquisition of the House of Fraser in the 1980s, though by the late 1980s, both had reverted to calling themselves simply “Fayed”.
Some have assumed that Fayed’s addition of “Al-” to his name was to imply aristocratic origins, like “de” in French or “von” in German, though Al- does not have the same social connotations in Arabic.
This assumption led to Private Eye magazine nicknaming him the “Phoney Pharaoh”.
Mohamed Al Fayed Death
Mohamed Al Fayed died on 30 August 2023 in London, at the age of 94, a day before the twenty-sixth anniversary of his son Dodi’s death.
Al-Fayed is survived by his wife, Finnish former model Heini Wathén, whom he married in 1985. Together, Al-Fayed and Wathén, 68, had four children, daughters Jasmine, 43, and Camilla, 38, and sons Karim, 40, and Omar, 35.
Mohamed Al Fayed Cause of Death
In a statement released by Fulham FC, his family said: “Mrs Mohamed Al Fayed, her children and grandchildren wish to confirm that her beloved husband, their father and their grandfather, Mohamed, has passed away peacefully of old age on Wednesday August 30, 2023.
“He enjoyed a long and fulfilled retirement surrounded by his loved ones. The family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time.”
Mohamed Al Fayed Funeral service
Mohamed Al Fayed death comes almost 26 years to the day of the Paris car crash that killed his eldest son and Diana on August 31, 1997.
Sky News reported a funeral was held for Mr Al Fayed after Friday prayers at London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park.
Mohamed Al Fayed Burial
Mohamed Al Fayed has been buried next to his son Dodi at the family mausoleum on the 226-acre estate.
Dodi was originally interred in Brookwood Cemetery near Woking, Surrey, but was re-interred on the estate grounds in October 1997.