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Former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed dies aged 94

Former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed has died at the age of 94, his family have announced.

In a statement released by Fulham FC, his family said: “Mrs Mohamed Al Fayed, her children and grandchildren wish to confirm that her beloved husband, their father and their grandfather, Mohamed, has passed away peacefully of old age on Wednesday August 30, 2023.

“He enjoyed a long and fulfilled retirement surrounded by his loved ones. The family have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time.”

Sky News reported a funeral was held for Mr Al Fayed after Friday prayers at London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park.

In the years after the death of his son Dodi Fayed, an Egyptian film producer, alongside Diana, Princess of Wales in a car crash in Paris in 1997, Mr Al Fayed repeatedly claimed they were murdered in a plot by the British establishment.

The billionaire’s relationship with the royal family was recently depicted in season five of The Crown, where Mr Al Fayed, played by Salim Daw, was seen getting to know Diana.

The year of her death, Mr Al Fayed had invited Diana and her sons Prince Harry and Prince William, to holiday with him on the Al Fayed yacht where they were followed by the paparazzi.

The businessman was born in Alexandria in Egypt and came to London in the 1960s where he set about building his empire.

Mr Al Fayed had taken control of Harrods in 1985 and he had also purchased the Ritz hotel in Paris in 1979; and was known for being the owner of Fulham FC between 1997 and 2013.

In 2010, he decided to sell Harrods to Qatar’s royal family for a reported £1.5 billion and three years later he sold Fulham FC, to Shahid Khan, owner of American football team Jacksonville Jaguars, who has now owned the club for 10 years.

Mr Al Fayed had once shown the “King of Pop” Michael Jackson around Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage in 1999 and in 2011 he installed a statue in honour of the singer outside Fulham’s ground, which was later taken down in 2013.

Soccer – Barclays Premier League – Fulham v Blackpool – Craven Cottage
Mohamed Al Fayed unveils a statue of Michael Jackson outside Craven Cottage (Nick Potts/PA)

In the 1990s, Mr Al Fayed tried to become a British citizen and failed in his attempts.

He made his first application for British citizenship in 1993 and in 1999, weeks after his brother Ali was granted British citizenship, he was declared unfit to hold a British passport by then-home secretary Jack Straw.

Mr Al Fayed appealed against the decision and Lords Justice Nourse, Kennedy and Rix dismissed Mr Al Fayed’s appeal that Mr Straw had been biased when he refused the citizenship application.

He had previously been rejected in 1993 by former home office minister Charles Wardle who joined the Harrods board of directors in 2000, a move which came as a surprise to some.

The business man also lost a High Court Battle against John Prescott allowing him to be able to land his helicopter on the roof of Harrods.

At the time, a spokesman for the Harrods owner said that the decision was “backward-looking.”

Mr Al Fayed was one of the most famous business tycoons in the world and the Sunday Times Rich List from 2021 reported that Mohamed Al-Fayed and family were worth around £1.7 billion.