Al Fayed is alive!

by Christos Zampounis


Without a doubt, the most entertaining episode of the second cycle of “The Crown”, in the sense of entertainment, is the one where Mohamed Al Fayed stars. Who is the master? Older people will remember the shock that was created in British society when it became known that an Egyptian businessman had bought the iconic department store “Harrod’s” in London for about 600 million pounds. The popular Netflix TV series shows him starting his professional career as a Coca-Cola itinerant outside the English Consulate in Alexandria in 1948. It is there that he first meets ‘The King’ as he is introduced, who is none other than the deposed Edward VIII. A marriage of convenience, with the sister of the later infamous arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, opens the door for him to social advancement. Next comes the financial one. According to “Forbes”, his fortune today amounts to 1.9 billion dollars. The creator of “The Crown” Peter Morgan, presents with a snobbish mood the indefatigable effort of Al Fayed (p.s.: Al was added to sign of aristocracy) to approach the royal family of England, one way or another. One of them, the most poignant, is the recruitment of Edward’s former equerry, Sydney. The scenes with the butler teaching him how to drink tea or how to dress are very reminiscent of “The Peasant” or, if you like, our own “Madame Soussou”, on the male side. The ridiculousness of the nouveau riche reaches its peak when he decides to donate to Elizabeth the Villa Windsor – oh yes!–, the mansion where the Duke of Windsor lived, with his American wife Wallis Simpson, for whose eyes he abdicated from the Throne. Proud – proud Mohamed is waiting on the doorstep for the prime meeting of his life with the monarch. Instead, her secretary appears, putting a bitter end to his hopes, hopes that will be revived when his son, Dodi, enters into an affair with Diana. The sequel is on the screen.