An June 3, 1997, Princess Diana met Egyptian entrepreneur Mohamed Al-Fayed at the Royal Albert Hall after attending Swan Lake. The two sit down to dinner and he invites her and her two sons to Saint-Tropez for the summer. That suits Diana. Her ex-husband, Prince Charles, is planning a big birthday party for his sweetheart, Camilla Parker Bowles, who turns 50, on July 17. Diana and her sons on holiday with controversial entrepreneur Al-Fayed promises to make headlines and anger the royal family. Al-Fayed, who is persona non grata in the kingdom at the latest after a scandal in 1994, when it came out that he had bribed members of parliament, expects good publicity from the princess – for himself, his family and also his London department store Harrod’s.
After vacationing in the south of France, sons William and Harry spend the rest of the summer with their father at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Diana, 36 years old, flies south again a little later, this time secretly. Unnoticed, she goes on board Mohamed Al-Fayed’s yacht “Jonikal” together with his eldest son Dodi. He comes from the marriage to Samira Khashoggi, the sister of the Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, who helps the Al-Fayeds significantly to their wealth.
Dodi al-Fayed is said to have just gotten engaged to American model Kelly Fisher when his father put him on the princess. Al-Fayed’s hope: the two will become a couple and even get married. 42-year-old Dodi Al-Fayed depends on his father’s money and is a playboy. Nevertheless, he supposedly falls in love with the princess immediately. For her, it’s probably just a summer fling.
The affair remains secret for two weeks. Then the French photographer Mario Brenna allegedly discovered Diana on board the yacht by accident and lay in wait with his camera. He succeeds in taking the snapshot that went around the world on August 10 as “the kiss”. Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell, doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence. She wanted to be back on the front page, he will say later. That’s why she gave the photographer a tip. From then on, the paparazzi are constant companions of Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed.
And according to Burrell, the princess also wants to achieve something else: She wants to make a man with whom she has been secretly dating for two years, London heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, jealous.
Another theory is: Mohamed Al-Fayed betrays the love nest to make the affair public. Because that’s the only way she plays into his hands. But the billionaire, who was denied British citizenship at the highest level, has also promised Diana that she will fund a network of clinics for terminally ill children, for which she wants to raise funds.
The vacation on the “Jonikal” ends on August 30, Diana wants to fly to London and on to her sons. Surprisingly, she postpones the return trip in order to spend one last day with Dodi Al-Fayed in Paris, the city of love. This trip is supposed to remain a secret.