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Kelly Fisher, Dodi Fayed’s fiancée whom ‘The Crown’ has put back in the spotlight

After finding out about the businessman’s relationship with Diana of Wales through the press, the model filed a lawsuit. Today she lives in South Carolina, away from the spotlight

LOA07:FISHER:LOS ANGELES.CALIFORNIA.14AUG97 - American model Kelly Fisher (L), who claims to have been engaged to businessman Dodi Fayed and publicly wore his ring, appears at a news conference with her attorney Gloria Allred (C) and Fisher's mother, Judith Dunaway, August 14 in Los Angeles. Allred filed a lawsuit against Fayed August 14 in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Kelly Fisher, claiming breach of promise after Fayed was linked in the media to Britain's Princess Diana. fsp/Photo by Fred Prouser  REUTERS
From left to right: Kelly Fisher, her lawyer Gloria Allred and her mother, during a press conference held in Los Angeles on August 14, 1997.Fred Prouser (REUTERS)

“I have a fiancée,” confesses an awkward but sincere Dodi Fayed (Khalid Abdalla) to Diana of Wales (Elizabeth Debicki). The princess, who is playing the piano on a luxury yacht in the waters of the French Riviera, looks up and, in a sarcastic tone, replies: “Congratulations.” This conversation, which takes place in The Crown, is not far from reality, although the exact words that the couple shared aboard billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed’s yacht on the most high-profile vacation in the history of the tabloid press are not actually known.

It was the first part of the latest installment of the series that brought former model Kelly Fisher back to the spotlight, after her presence had become just another shadow of the many that surrounded the relationship that Dodi and Lady Di had in those summer weeks of 1997, just before the accident that caused their premature deaths. Her career as a model and actress was left in limbo after her then fiancé, Dodi Fayed, had offered her $500,000, a mansion in Malibu and a diamond ring with a large sapphire in exchange for spending more time with him. Fisher accepted, but then Diana of Wales entered the story.

When Mohamed Al-Fayed found out about his son’s intentions with his American fiancée, he tried to ruin his plans, because he wanted his son to be related to the British royal family. The story began a year before the accident that led to the death of his son and the Princess of Wales, in the summer of 1996. At that time, he was 41 years old and Fisher 29. Shortly after, six months later, the firstborn of the Al-Fayed family knelt before the American model (who had worked with brands like Armani and Calvin Klein) and put the controversial diamond ring on her finger.

But the beginning of the end quickly knocked on Kelly Fisher’s door. On August 10, 1997, the Sunday Mirror published some compromising photos of Dodi and the then Princess of Wales sharing an intimate moment (the images were captured by paparazzo Mario Brenna). It is one of the biggest exclusives in history: the English tabloid paid $2.1 million for the images. This is how the former model found out that her fiancée was cheating on her with the princess, while she was on another yacht, not far from the photographed couple.

The response was immediate. Fisher recruited a battalion of lawyers and filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles, arguing that the son of the Egyptian tycoon had only given her $60,000 of the promised $500,000. “We would like the princess, who has suffered greatly in the past, to know of Ms. Fisher’s experiences with Mr. Fayed so that she can make an informed decision regarding her future and that of her children,” one of Fisher’s lawyers told the Los Angeles Times. The lawsuit was filed in mid-August 1997, and it seemed that it was going to cause a stir at a time when the media exposure of Diana and Dodi was reaching unprecedented heights in the tabloid press. She herself publicly invited the princess to meet in person.

Retrato de la modelo  Kelly Fisher, durante una conferencia de prensa en Los Ángeles, en la que anunció junto a su abogada, su intención de demandar al empresario Dodi al Fayed, por romper su compromiso matrimonial. Dodi está relacionado con la princesa Diana de Gales.
Kelly Fisher photographed in 1997 with the diamond and sapphire ring that Dodi Fayed gave her.

An extreme close-up of Fisher’s engagement ring closed a hectic press conference that took place two weeks before the accident. The former model wanted to show her pain through the media. Her lawyer, Gloria Allred, opened the crowded appearance with a brief speech explaining all the details of the lawsuit and referring to Dodi as “a frog in prince’s clothing.” Fisher’s mother also contributed some statements: “No one’s daughter deserves to be treated as my daughter was,” she said. “Kelly loved him, trusted him, and has been treated very cruelly by him.”

When questioned if she would consider reconciling with Dodi, or ever see him as a friend again, Fisher simply answered, weeping: “No.” That is the only word she said during the entire press conference, held on August 14, 1997. “I want to do many things to forget those dreams of getting married and being a mother, which will never come true,” she stated shortly after in an exclusive interview with ¡Hola! magazine.

British newspapers announcing the deaths of the Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed.
British newspapers announcing the deaths of the Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed.Tim Graham (Tim Graham Photo Library via Get)

Diana of Wales and her boyfriend die in a traffic accident in Paris,” read the cover of EL PAÍS on that fateful August 31, 1997. Just two weeks after that press conference, and following those events, Fisher decided to back out. Her lawyers dropped the lawsuit and issued a statement in which she expressed her pain: “Kelly loved Dodi very much, and she is devastated by his loss, and that of Princess Diana. Nothing is more important than the life of a human being. In the light of this enormous tragedy, Kelly forgives Dodi for all of his past injustices against her.” She did not attend her ex-fiancée’s funeral.

Soon, Kelly Fisher disappeared from the spotlight. Ten years later, however, she had to relive it all again when she testified as a witness in the London trial for the death of her ex-fiancé and Diana, where the transcripts of her calls with Dodi from the time the infamous photos were published were publicly reproduced. In them, Fisher accuses him of taking her to Saint-Tropez to have sex at night while he seduced Diana during the day on the other yacht: “You even flew me down to Saint-Tropez to sit on a boat while you seduced Diana all day and fucked me all night.” During the court hearings, Mohamed Al-Fayed did not hesitate to call Fisher a “hooker” and a “gold digger.”

By then, the model had already rebuilt her life. The year in which the authorities were looking for those responsible for the accident that caused the death of Dodi and Diana, Fisher married the Russian pilot Mikhail Movshina, whom she met during an African safari. “He was working for the government to stop the Sudanese poachers from slaughtering the elephants for their tusks,” she said in a 2014 interview for Aiken Woman magazine, in which she did not mention her past with the Al-Fayeds. After having lived in Paris, Switzerland and the French Alps, she is currently based in Aiken, South Carolina, where she works as a property developer. Now The Crown has brought her back to the public eye, but this time it does not seem like she will be the focus of any exclusive stories. Her last appearance in the news was in 2017, again in a British tabloid: “Of course I have the engagement ring,” she told The Sun, when asked if she still has one memento from those days.

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