WARNING: This article contains spoilers from all seasons of The Crown
Season six, part one of The Crown has landed and sees Mohamed Al-Fayed (played by Salim Daw) continuing his plans to get closer to the British establishment and high society.
Season five showed how he was sponsoring the Windsor Horse Show and purchasing Harrods as he tried to ingratiate himself with the Royal Family.
He even struck up a rapport with Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) after Queen Elizabeth II (Imelda Staunton) asked her to speak to him.
Season six saw Mohamed inviting Princess Diana onto a luxury yacht he owned in St Tropez to allow her to have a summer getaway with her sons Princes William (Rufus Kampa) and Harry (Fflyn Edwards).
He was also telling his son to start a romance with Princess Diana despite Dodi Fayed (Khalid Abdalla) already engaged to American model Kelly Fisher (Erin Richards). But how much of this social climbing ambition was real and how much was simply created by the writers?
The Crown season six teased in Netflix trailer
Did Mohamed Al-Fayed really want to join the Royal Family?
Speaking to Daily Express exclusively, historical and royal expert Marlene Koenig said: “Well, he would never have been a part of the Royal Family. He was keen to join the establishment, that was his whole gig.
“In fact, it turned out with the Conservatives’ [Cash for questions] investigation, he made up his own wealthy ancestors.
“He was known as the ‘Phoney pharaoh’. He added the ‘Al’ to his name, which he had no entitlement to and he was very, very rich, made his [own] money.
“But he was denied British citizenship over and over again. So he was never fully accepted.”
The ‘Al’ was thought to have been added by the Egyptian entrepreneur to invoke connotations of the aristocracy, similar to ‘de’ in French or ‘von’ in German, but most of the family reverted back to using their original surname ‘Fayed’ in the 1980s.
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Koenig went on to say: “Although for a time period he sponsored the Royal Windsor Horse Show for a number of years up until Diana’s death.
“And then it was severed because he was making claims in the inquest – many different things. He accused the Queen and Philip of killing Diana, he called Philip a Nazi and a racist, which he wasn’t.”
Koenig continued: “He lost his beloved son and he wasn’t willing to accept the driver that was provided was drunk and nobody had seatbelts on and that of course played a big role.”
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She explained the reason his citizenship was rejected was because he “made up stories about himself” and “pretending to be somebody he wasn’t”.
The historian explained how the status of the British establishment made it alluring for al-Fayed – something The Crown suggested in season five with the businessman seeing the royals almost as godlike in their status and trying to reach their heights through his own social climbing.
Koenig said he longed to be part of the establishment: “He really came from a poor family. He was self-made.” Businessman Al-Fayed’s wealth came from his involvement in the oil industry in Dubai.
Simply put, Koenig said his embellishments of the truth didn’t “go down well” despite his vast wealth and so he didn’t get citizenship and could never become part of the establishment.
The Crown season 6, part 1 is streaming on Netflix now
The Crown season 6, part 2 will be released on Netflix on December 14
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