'The Crown' Casts Princess Diana's Final Boyfriend, Dodi Fayed

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in 'The Crown' Season 5

Much like real life, when The Crown Season 4 introduced Princess Diana, she immediately took over the show, becoming the main focus of the entire season. On the one hand, it did wonders for the series' profile. After spending three seasons mired in the small but respectable single million viewer range, The Crown suddenly became the most talked-about series on Netflix after Bridgerton. Moreover, it turned the series into an awards season powerhouse, with the show sweeping the Emmys drama category, taking home all seven Primetime presented topline categories.

With the divorce of Prince Charles and Diana imminent, The Crown is adding the last people to join her life. To that end, the series has cast two of the most controversial names that have joined the cast thus far: Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed and his son, Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Mena'em Fayed, known to all as Dodi. That Al-Fayed made his fortune as the former owner of Harrods department store, and his son, who was regarded as a playboy on the social scene, caught Diana's eye just as her marriage to Charles ended. 

Khalid Abdalla (The Kite Runner) has been tapped as Diana's last relationship before her death, with Salim Daw (Oslo) as his billionaire father. Abdalla will be paired opposite Elizabeth Debicki (Widows), who has been cast to play Diana in her final years. Dominic West (The Pursuit of Love) is set to take over Charles' role. As previously reported, Imelda Staunton (Downton Abbey), Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones), and Lesley Manville (Magpie Murders) are set to take over the Big Three roles of Elizabeth, Philip, and Margaret.

Khalid Abdalla in United 93
Khalid Abdalla in 'United 93' (Universal Pictures)

Dodi and Diana's relationship, which began in 1997, was tabloid fodder in a new and different way than her marriage to Charles. Fayed's race, religion, and his father's new money history made him a walking scandal for the Royal family. The specter that Diana could marry him brought up all kinds of controversial issues about possible Islamic relations to the heir to the crown, not to mention racist talk. The paparazzi went mad at new levels unseen to that point, until one night at the end of August, when a caravan of photographers chased their car into a Paris tunnel, in which they crashed. Neither survived.

Though it was later determined that the chauffeur of the car had been drinking with contributed to the crash, Al Fayed was one of many in England who believed that the death of Diana was not an accident. He was the leading voice accusing the Palace of a planned assassination, insisting they were desperate to remove a walking scandal waiting to explode at any moment. Peter Morgan's previous award-winning film The Queen chronicled much of the aftermath of Diana's passing. However, the arrival of the Fayed family (and the inclusion of Dodi's father as a prominent role) suggests that The Crown Season 6 will lean into the scandal.

The Crown Season 5 and 6 are currently filming back to back in London. Season 5 is will debut in November 2022, with The Crown's final season expected to follow in 2023. Seasons 1-4 are streaming on Netflix.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, CNN, Primetimer, and others. A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on Twitter and other social media of your choice: @anibundel

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