Mohamed Al-Fayed, billionaire ex-owner of Harrods who feuded with royal family, dead at 94

Billionaire tycoon Mohamed Al-Fayed, the former owner of Harrods in London, is dead at 94. Al-Fayed loved to picked big fights–the circumstances under which he acquired the flagship retailer and its parent chain meant he would later be denied UK citizenship, a slight that echoed in his further interactions with the British establishment. His biggest brawl, though, was with the royal family after the death of his son, Dodi, in a car crash with then-girlfriend Diana Spencer. Al-Fayed accused Prince Philip of having them murdered, and spent much of his later life pursuing the allegation to whatever extent English courts and tabloids would entertain it.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1929, Al-Fayed seized the entrepreneurial opportunities handed to him during his brief marriage to Samira Khashoggi, a Saudi author and sister of billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. 

After working with Adnan Khashoggi and setting up his own shipping company, Al-Fayed moved to London and began piecing together an expansive real estate portfolio that focused on luxury destinations. 

In 2021 his net worth was around $1.8 billion, according to Forbes. His businesses interests included Punch Magazine, Kurt Geiger, Manhattan skyscraper 75 Rockefeller Plaza, and the Hyde Park Residence block of luxury apartments in London.

"Harrods is my pyramid," he declared in 2004, then sold it to the Qatari royal family for more than a billion pounds.