Timeline 1900 – 2017

Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed

In July 1997, Dodi Al-Fayed, son of the billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, became romantically involved with Diana, Princess of Wales.

Dodi was born in Alexandria, Egypt, son of the billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, former owner of Harrods department store and owner of Fulham Football Club and the Hôtel Ritz in Paris. Dodi was of Egyptian descent from his father and Spanish, Turkish, and Arab descent from his mother, a Muslim by faith.

After breaking his engagement to the American model Kelly Fisher, Dodi became romantically involved with Diana, Princess of Wales. The relationship created a media frenzy as the paparazzi tried to capture pictures of them together. In the early hours of 31 August, 1997, Diana and Dodi died in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, the blame for the crash later placed on their attempts to flee the horde of photographers following them. Dodi and Diana had broken their journey back to London by stopping off at Paris, after having spent nine days together on holiday in the French and Italian Rivieras abroad the Al-Fayed family yacht.  Mohamed Al-Fayed’s former spokesman, Michael Cole, has claimed that the couple had become engaged before their deaths.

Alison Jackson, an English artist and BAFTA award winner, produced the iconic image of Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed with a mixed race child, Jackson stating: ‘I started making work about Diana as a national icon at the time of her death. Millions mourned her through her image. Most of them did not know her in person; they only “knew” her through photos, TV etc. I thought I would make images of her, using a lookalike, to explore our perception of her and our fantasies about her love life’. Mica Nava , the Cultural Studies Professor at University of East London, has suggested that had such an image become the reality, it might have done much to consolidate the racial reconfiguration of Britain.