Meet the Al-Fayeds, the Family on ‘the Crown’ Close With Princess Diana


Mohamed acquired Harrods, a famed department store significant to British culture, in 1984.

Mohamed Al Fayed opening Harrods sale. (Photo by Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images)

Mohamed Al Fayed opening the Harrods sale in 1999.

Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images

The famed department store was bought by the Al-Fayed family in 1984 according to The Independent. As Mohamed told the New York Times in 1985, “There is only one Harrods.”

Vice reported in 2020 that Harrods is a staple of British culture so entrenched that it has been name-dropped in several songs.

Despite owning this landmark, CBS reported in 1998 that he was denied British citizenship because of discrepancies about the source of the funds he used to purchase the store.

The AP reported in 1990 that Mohamed and his brothers Ali and Salah lied about their family history to make the acquisition. The brothers denied these allegations.

The brothers worked together frequently, according to the New York Times, though Mohamed was the one “The Crown” showed doing the bulk of the business deals.

“In general, if you speak to any one of the brothers, you have spoken to all of them,” Peter Costain, a director of the construction company Costain Group, told the New York Times in 1985.

The family reportedly sold the department store to the Qatari royal family in 2010, according to The Guardian. 

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