The Crown Changed When Diana Met Dodi Fayed: When Did It Happen?

Warning: SPOILERS for The Crown Season 5, Episode 3 – « Mou Mou »The pivotal meeting between Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Dodi Fayed (Khalid Abdalla) takes place later in The Crown season 5 than it does in real life. The Crown season 5, episode 3, « Mou Mou, » is the origin story of Dodi and his billionaire father, Mohamed Al Fayed (Salim Daw), which sets them up as major characters in The Crown seasons 5 and 6, But the needs of The Crown’s dramatic narrative took precedence over the timeline of real-life events.

The Crown season 5 sets Diana meeting Dodi at a polo match in 1990, but their first meeting likely occurred in 1986. In real life, Diana’s then-husband, Prince Charles (Dominic West), played polo on the team opposing Dodi’s. But in The Crown, their fateful meeting takes place four years later, after the 1990 death of Mohamed’s loyal valet, Sydney Johnson (Jude Akuwudike). In the real-life 1986 event, Mohamed did indeed sponsor the polo match, hoping it would give him the access to Queen Elizabeth II (Imelda Staunton) he so desperately desired. Instead, Diana was sent to sit next to « Mou Mou. » However, Diana’s first meeting with Dodi was brief, and they didn’t truly get to know each other until the summer of 1997, which sparked their relationship.

Why The Crown Changed Diana And Dodi’s Meeting Timeline

The Crown season 5, episode 3 saved Diana meeting Dodi as the climax so that it would ominously point to the tragedy that would befall the future lovers in The Crown season 6. No matter how much money Mohamed spent to give him status and access in British society, he found the Queen was still « allergic » to him, and this is ironically what brought the Princess of Wales into the Fayeds’ orbit. Diana, who was also ostracized from the Royal Family, unexpectedly found a kindred spirit in her new friend Mou Mou. For The Crown, saving Diana to meet Mohammed and Dodi at the end of episode 3 was more effective drama, and narratively cleaner than setting the meeting in real-life 1986 when Diana was still married to Charles.

« Mou Mou » is a powerful episode dedicated to Mohamed and Dodi’s father-son relationship, and Mohamed’s touching bond with his valet, Sydney Johnson. Mohamed, who worshiped the British all his life, desired the privileged life of an English gentleman. Mou Mou relished that King Edward VIII’s former manservant was now his trusted companion. Meanwhile, Dodi wanted to be his own man but also make his father proud. Yet Dodi was also a partier and socialite, although the younger Fayed did use his family’s money to executive produce the Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire. The Crown season 5 smartly plays with the undercurrent that Mohamed and Dodi were meant to meet Diana, which sets off a tragic chain of events.

What Really Happened After Diana Met Dodi Fayed

In The Crown season 5’s finale, « Decommissioned, » a lonely and isolated Diana, post-divorce, runs into Mohamed Al Fayed at a ballet recital, and she accepts his offer to spend the summer on his yacht in Saint-Tropez. Meanwhile, Dodi proposes to American model Kelly Fisher (Erin Richards). The Crown puts all the pieces in place for the inevitable next step of Dodi meeting Diana once again in Saint-Tropez in July 1997, which ignites their whirlwind romance. This was likely by Mohamed’s design since he was displeased with his son marrying a model.

In real life, Dodi jilts his new fiancée to carry on his affair with the Princess of Wales, and The Crown season 6 is poised to dramatize Diana and Dodi’s fling leading up to their tragic demise. On August 31, 1997, Diana and Dodi’s car is chased by paparazzi through the streets of Paris and crashes, killing them both. Mohamed claimed afterward that the car crash was not an accident, and he suggested the British royal family caused it because Diana was pregnant and planned to marry Dodi. It remains to be seen if The Crown season 6 with play with the timeline of events the way it did when Diana met Dodi.

The Crown Season 5 is streaming on Netflix.