Mohamed Fayed Obituary, Death – Mohamed Al Fayed, who passed away at the age of 94, left an indelible mark on the world through his remarkable journey from the streets of Alexandria, Egypt, to becoming the owner of one of the world’s most renowned department stores.
However, behind this inspiring success story lay a complex individual whose actions would reverberate through the British establishment. Born as Mohamed Fayed in Alexandria, Egypt, the exact date of his birth has been a subject of debate. While his self-approved entry in Who’s Who listed his birth as January 1933 without a specific date, an official Department of Trade inquiry recorded it as 27 January 1929. Fayed’s early life was marked by humble beginnings as he sold bottles of fizzy drinks on the streets. However, his fortunes changed dramatically in the mid-1950s when he married the sister of Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi millionaire arms dealer.
This connection provided him with a pivotal opportunity, granting him access to influential circles in London and the Gulf. By the 1960s, Mohamed Al Fayed had become a wealthy businessman, engaging in transactions with a wide range of individuals, from Arab sheiks to Haiti’s notorious dictator, Papa Doc Duvalier.
He had founded his own shipping company in Egypt and became the financial adviser to the Sultan of Brunei, solidifying his presence on the international stage. In 1974, Al Fayed relocated to the United Kingdom and added “Al” to his name. This decision earned him the humorous moniker of “the phony pharaoh” courtesy of the satirical magazine Private Eye. In 1979, he, along with his brother Ali, acquired the prestigious Ritz Hotel in Paris, further cementing his reputation as a high-profile hotelier.
Six years later, Mohamed Al Fayed achieved a significant victory by outbidding the Lonrho group to acquire the iconic Harrods department store in London. This acquisition marked a pinnacle in his career, as Harrods became synonymous with his name and further solidified his status as a notable figure in the world of luxury retail.
However, Al Fayed’s legacy is not solely defined by his business achievements. He found himself entangled in controversies and allegations of impropriety that had far-reaching consequences. His actions led to the downfall of three Conservative politicians, and his unwavering belief that the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, was murder put him at odds with both French and British investigators and an inquest jury.
In retrospect, Mohamed Al Fayed’s life is a testament to the transformative power of ambition and determination. From modest beginnings in Alexandria to the pinnacle of international business success, he will be remembered as a complex and influential figure whose impact extended far beyond the realm of retail and into the heart of British society.