In the mid 1990s, Dodi Fayed became a figure akin to historical playboys like Porfirio Rubirosa and Gunter Sachs. As the son of billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed — the owner of Harrods and Fulham FC — he had exclusive access to all things luxury, charmed countless models and actresses, and ended up falling in love and tragically dying on August 31, 1997 with a princess, Diana of Wales. That summer, they were the most talked-about couple.
A blurry, pixelated photo published on August 10, 1997, in The Sunday Mirror showed Dodi and Lady Di embracing and kissing on the deck of the Al-Fayed-owned yacht, Jonikal, confirming what had been an open secret: they were in love. However, behind closed doors, the situation was more complex, as Dodi had got engaged to American model Kelly Fisher a few months earlier. That's how the American model found out about their royal love story.
The sixth season of The Crown revives this love triangle that captivated the British tabloid press and, by extension, the world. It's important to remember that Princess Diana was one of the most photographed women on the planet.
Their Love Story
Kelly and Dodi met in Paris in the summer of 1996. Sparks flew from the first encounter, prompting the millionaire to propose to her in February of the following year with an engagement ring featuring a large central sapphire surrounded by sparkling diamonds. Interestingly, the jewel resembled the one that the then Charles, Prince of Wales had given to a young Diana Spencer in February 1981 to announce their engagement.
At the time of accepting the proposal, Kelly was a well-known model, having graced campaigns for Armani, Victoria's Secret, and Calvin Klein and appeared on the covers of Vogue, Elle, and W. Due to her father's work as a vice-president of an international company, the Fishers moved several times. Kelly lived in Kentucky until the age of eight before later relocating to Toronto, Canada, where at the age of 16 she moved out to pursue her modelling dreams.
When she found herself with an expensive ring at the age of 29, she thought she was going to fulfil another of her dreams, that of starting a family. Dodi, at 41, had purchased a $6.6 million mansion in Malibu overlooking the Pacific to build their love nest. Moreover, the couple had reached an agreement whereby Kelly would leave her profession in exchange for $500,000 in cash. When Mohamed Al-Fayed learned of his son's intentions, he tried to thwart them, wishing for his son to marry into the Windsors, whom he often dealt with. The businessman didn't hesitate to call Kelly a "prostitute" and a "gold digger," despite his own marriage to former Finnish model Heini Wathén in 1985, with whom he had four daughters.
What seemed like a fairy tale that was to culminate in a wedding on 9 August 1997 suddenly fell apart within a few months. Kelly was devastated upon seeing the famous images from August 10 of that year. The media was already discussing Dodi and Diana's 'engagement' while he was still engaged. When the scandal broke, Kelly was on another Al-Fayed yacht a short distance away in the waters of the French Riviera.
Life in South Carolina
In no time at all, Kelly contacted lawyer Gloria Allred to file a lawsuit against Dodi for a breach of contract in their marriage settlement. The model had only received $60,000 and a $200,000 check that the bank had rejected. At a packed press conference in which Kelly shed as many tears as there were carats in the ring she was flashing in front of the cameras, she said she was suing Dodi for the missing $440,000. But the trial never took place because the most unthinkable of tragedies struck. While Dodi and Diana were racing at high speed along the Seine on the Pont de l'Alma in Paris, the lovers lost their lives.
Gradually, Kelly faded into obscurity. She rebuilt her life with Russian pilot Mikkail Movshina, whom she met on safari in Africa. They married in 2007, and four years later, their daughter Aiken was born. Away from the media spotlight, after living in Paris, Switzerland and the French Alps, Kelly and her family currently reside in South Carolina.
Read the original article in Spanish here.