Mohamed Al Fayed and his late son, Dodi Al Fayed, have been back in the news thanks to season five of The Crown, which dedicates an entire episode to the rise of the Fayed family. In an interview that first ran in Talter in January 2022 but was republished in light of The Crown, Omar Fayed (he doesn't use the "Al"), the son of Mohamed and his second wife, Heini Wathén, opened up about his career path—away from the family business.
"I never wanted to be Mr Harrods," he told Tatler; yet, he joined the board in 2006 at age 19. "Dad would introduce me as his next boss when I worked in his office on weekends and during holidays, but it was very light. There was no pressure. I realised it would be an amazing experience." Four years later, his father sold Harrods.
He didn't enjoy his time working at the famous London department store. "I was meeting endless celebrities, royalty, presidents, religious leaders, all walking through the doors of Harrods. And I failed to find any solace in any of the people I met and their perspectives. It felt like it was all fine jewellery and fast fashion. I’m probably being a little bit harsh. Of course, I like nice things, too. But it’s about balance."
Now, Fayed is focusing on a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors, that all center around environmentalism. "This is a period where everyone has to work together, not only for humanity’s sake but for survival on the planet and for generations to come," he said.
One inspiration, he shared, is King Charles III. "I really admire what HRH has done with his blessings and burdens to further work around local communities and regional agriculture. I love that," Fayed told Tatler.
He also reminisced on that fateful summer of 1997, when he spent time with his half-brother, Dodi, and Princess Diana. "I met Princess Diana a few times and Princes William and Harry. They came to my dad’s house, too, and were super delightful. There were so many stories that came out of that period, but for the people who were in it, it was lovely family vibes," he shared. "That whole period went a bit over my head, which I think in some ways was fortunate."
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