HISTORY: Mohamed al-Fayed, former owner of Harrods department store and whose son was killed alongside Princess Diana in a car accident in 1997, died Wednesday at the age of 94.
Al-Fayed was known as a flamboyant and outspoken tycoon, but was never fully accepted by the British establishment.
Born in Egypt, he built his family’s fortune in real estate, shipping and construction.
He moved to Britain in the 1970s and in 1985 sparked one of the country’s most bitter business disputes when he tried to take over Harrods. After a quarter century of ownership, he sold the department store to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
Al-Fayed also owned other symbols of the establishment, such as Fulham FC and the Ritz hotel in Paris.
Al-Fayed would later become obsessed with the belief that Princess Diana’s death was orchestrated by the royal family, a conspiracy theory that was not supported by any evidence.
Her own son Dodi, who was dating Diana at the time, died alongside the royal when their car crashed in Paris as they tried to outrun the paparazzi.
Al-Fayed eventually gave up any legal attempt to prove they were murdered, when a jury found the couple were unlawfully killed by the conduct of their driver.