The former owner of Harrods, billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed, has died aged 94.
The Egyptian businessman, who was father of Princess Diana’s lover Dodi Fayed, ran multiple high-profile businesses. Diana and Dodi were together in the car which crashed, killing them both, in Paris on August 31, 1997.
He also previously owned Premier League club Fulham, having purchased the Craven Cottage side for £6.25million in 1997, along with the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
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 is said to have shared a special bond with Princess Diana, who died 26 years ago almost to the day.
Mr Al Fayed sponsored a number of charities and events, which were also attended by the Royal Family.
In 1995, Michael Cole, the director of public affairs at Harrods, told Vanity Fair: “Diana is so easygoing with Mohamed… Mohamed is not one of those who’s overwhelmed by her.
“They spark off each other very well.”
The business tycoon then invited her, along with Prince William and Prince Harry, to join his family on their yacht the Jonikal.
There she met Dodi, with whom she quickly became close.
Mr Al Fayed claimed the pair were killed by security guards, an allegation which resulted in the Harrods store being stripped of its four royal warrants — the right to declare that a company supplies goods by appointment to the Royal Family.
The crash was determined to be an accident by both British and French police investigations.
He was born in 1929 and grew up in Alexandria, Egypt.
In 1954, he married Samira Kashoggi in 1954 and worked for her arms dealer brother Adnan Khashoggi, before launching his own successful shipping company in Egypt.
Dodi was born a year later, but his parents split in 1956. Mr Al Fayed moved to the UK in 1974.
In 1979 the tycoon bought the Ritz hotel in Paris, and then a 30 percent stake in House of Fraser with his brother Ali.
This deal included Harrods in London, which they later acquired for £615m.
Mr Al Fayed is understood to have amassed a wealth of £1.3 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes.
Mr Al Fayed met his second wife, Finnish model Heini Wathen, 26 years his junior, after buying the Ritz in Paris, after they were introduced by Dodi. Soon after, Mrs Mr Al Fayed moved to London with him and the couple married in 1985. The couple had four children together.
He also set up the Al Fayed Foundation in 1987 aims to help children with life-limiting conditions and living in poverty.
Mr Al Fayed is survived by his wife Heini, 68, and four children – Jasmine, 43, Karim, 40, Camilla, 38, and Omar, 35.