“He had the attitude that the woman he was with reflected on him,” says his longtime friend Michael White, a producer.
Princess Diana represented Dodi’s lifetime achievement. Winging his way on G II’s and cruising on 200-foot yachts, sending gifts of caviar, cashmere, and smoked salmon to his friends, Dodi had no “real life.” He never had a home to speak of.
He was seen as someone who lacked the drive—or, more flatteringly, the ruthlessness—to make it on his own.
When his romance with Diana hit the headlines on August 7, Dodi suddenly faced the kind of scrutiny that even members of royal families are ill-prepared to withstand.
“His relationships were very varied and quite inconsistent.”In Arabic, Dodi’s given name—Emad—means “someone you can depend on,” but friends and foes remember him as desperately needy, by turns generous and insensitive, impulsive and careful.
He had been a rich, lonely child, and his financial dependence on his father stunted him as an adult.
Later, Mohamed Al Fayed drew further enmity after revealing that he had paid prominent Conservative members of Parliament to raise questions relating to his business interests in the House of Commons.
Fayed’s revelations of Tory Party “sleaze” contributed to Labour’s landslide last spring.
His father owned the apartments on Park Lane in London and just off the Champs-Élysées in Paris where Dodi often stayed.
Dodi rented mansions and beach houses in Los Angeles, and used his family’s vacation homes in Saint-Tropez, Gstaad, and Scotland.
Diana and Dodi had died in a high-speed car crash 10 days earlier.
But the Harrods window still drew throngs of mourners bearing notes and fresh bouquets. Diana is now sealed into the collective memory, and not with Prince Charles, the father of her sons and source of much of her unhappiness, but with a man who had been at her side for all of three weeks, a man scarcely known outside certain rarefied precincts of London, Manhattan, and Hollywood until his name burst into the tabloid press in August when he publicly became Diana’s consort.
The messages offered impassioned variations on a single theme: Dodi and Diana, star-crossed lovers, united in eternity. In the dramatic quest for public sympathy that unfolded after the royal divorce, Diana showed a genius for manipulating the press.