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Rich, protective Dodi appeared perfect match for Diana

Dodi Fayed August 31, 1997
Web posted at: 4:10 a.m. EDT (0810 GMT)

PARIS (CNN) -- Britain's tabloids had already spent weeks obsessing over the relationship between Diana, Princess of Wales, and Harrod's heir Dodi Fayed.

By most accounts, the pair met about 10 years ago, when Fayed played polo against Diana's ex-husband, Prince Charles. Recently, the friendship apparently turned into something more serious.

As the princess began spending more time with Fayed, speculation arose that they were in love. Tabloids promptly found pictures to back the story up.


Newspapers, hungry as always for any news on Diana's personal life, devoured the story. As the princess and Fayed took a Mediterranean holiday together, the headlines practically had them married.

Just days ago, newspapers confidently predicted a wedding and compared the duo to the late Jacqueline Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis.

Fayed was from a prominent Egyptian family. His father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, owns the London department store Harrod's and the Ritz Hotel in Paris.

Fayed himself was a respected film producer, with credits including the Academy Award-winning "Chariots of Fire" and "The World According to Garp."

Kelly Fisher

He had homes in New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles and Switzerland. He'd dated a number of celebrities, including model Brooke Shields and actress Britt Eklund. Even after she said she was jilted by Fayed, model Kelly Fisher had nice things to say about him.

"I found him very down-to-earth, very quiet and charming," Kelly told CNN's Larry King Live last week. "I liked him a lot."

Like Diana, he had been married once and divorced.

He was far from the British royalty which Diana was so visibly a part of for 15 years.

Yet Diana-watchers saw Fayed as the man who could fill a void in the princess' life. As a multimillionaire, the 42-year-old was able to give the princess the high life she enjoyed, while sheltering her from the media clamor that followed her every move.

It may have been his very desire to protect the princess from paparazzi that caused Sunday's accident.

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