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The Crown season six part one: the ultimate fact vs fiction guide

Here is the truth versus fiction in the new season of The Crown

The Crown fact vs fiction cover picture
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
Nicky MorrisTV and film writer
Megan BullTV Writer
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The Crown season six part one has landed on Netflix, with most of the show following Diana’s final weeks before her death in August 1997 – as well as the profound effect that her passing had on the royal family’s popularity. However, The Crown’s creators have never made it a secret that much of the show is a work of fiction, with many imagined moments filling the blanks in the royal family’s history. So how much of the new season was fact, and what was made up? Find out in our ultimate guide here… 

Did Dodi and his ex-girlfriend Kelly Fisher break up over Diana? 

Dodi Fayed and Kelly Fisher's breakup is contentious, to say the least. After meeting in July 1996, the model alleged that they were already engaged, when she learnt of Dodi's blossoming relationship with Princess Diana the following year. 

According to Kelly, it was the famous paparazzi photos of Dodi and Diana, published in The Sunday Mirror, that alerted her to their relationship. Kelly quickly followed up with a lawsuit against Dodi, alleging a breach of contract. During a press conference Kelly's attorney, Gloria Allred, said: "Mr. Fayed needs to take responsibility for the woman that he 'left at the altar' and treated with such total disrespect. He threw her love away in a callous way with no regard for her whatsoever."

Kelly also invited Princess Diana to meet with her, with the intention of sharing a "great deal of information" about Dodi, that was not public knowledge. As for Dodi's take on the matter, the film producer stated that while he knew Kelly, the two were never engaged. Keeping quiet on the topic of their breakup, a spokesman for Harrods, which was owned by Dodi's father Mohamed al-Fayed, responded instead.

 "We are content to leave it to the good sense of the British and American people to judge this development for what it is," read the statement. 

Did Dodi's ex-girlfriend Kelly Fisher really sue him following their split? 

Yes. Days after photos of Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana were published in The Sunday Mirror, his ex-girlfriend Kelly Fisher lawyered up. Enlisting the help of attorney Gloria Allred, the American model sued Dodi for breach of contract. Alleging that they were due to wed on August 9 1997, Kelly also stated that there had been a contractual agreement between them. The lawsuit contended that prior to ending their relationship, Dodi had offered Kelly $500,000 to scale back her modelling career, and move to Paris with him. 

dodi al fayed kelly fisher© Photo: Rex
Kelly Fisher claimed that she was engaged to Dodi

At the time, Kelly's lawsuit sought the remaining $440,000, plus damages. After her complaint was filed, Dodi stated that while he knew Kelly, they were never engaged. Although the model intended to secure reparations, she chose to drop the lawsuit, following the sudden and tragic death of Dodi and Diana. On September 1 1997 – a day after the fatal collision – Kelly's attorney confirmed that she had withdrawn the lawsuit, explaining:  "Out of respect for the tragedy, and tremendous loss the Fayed family has suffered, she has authorised me as her attorney, to dismiss her lawsuit against Mr Fayed. 

"Although she does have the legal right to pursue the lawsuit against his estate after his death, she has voluntarily chosen not to exercise that right."

Did Diana call William ‘Wombat’? 

In a 2007 interview with NBC, Prince William revealed his mother's unusual nickname for him and it was, indeed, Wombat. Speaking to the network, the royal recalled: "When we went to Australia with our parents, and the wombat, you know, that's the local animal, so I just basically got called that, not because I look like a wombat, or maybe I do. I can't get rid of it now. It began when I was two."

Did Dodi visit a psychic with Diana in Derbyshire? 

On 12 August 1997, Dodi and Diana attended a psychic reading with her pal, Rita Rogers, one of the UK's best-known mediums. In a 2008 interview with Mail Online, it was reported that Diana and Rita had been in touch since 1994, after being introduced by a mutual friend. Chartering the Harrods helicopter, the Princess and her beau had flown to Rita's home in Derbyshire, where Dodi sat for a private reading. 

"Diana had visited several times before on her own, and we spoke regularly as friends," Rita told the publication. "I'd read for her several times, of course, but not on this occasion. She wanted me to meet Dodi, and while I did a private reading for him, she sat in the sunshine on the patio with Mo [Rita's partner] and waited until we had finished."

Did Dodi write Diana a poem?

According to Vanity Fair, Dodi gifted Princess Diana with a small silver plaque that had been specially inscribed with a poem that he'd written. However, very little is known about the plaque. 

Dodi was wll known for his fashion-forward approach in contrast to Prince Charles' traditional royal attire© Netflix
Dodi was wll known for his fashion-forward approach in contrast to Prince Charles' traditional royal attire

Did Dodi really want Diana to move to California? 

 While there's no record of Dodi encouraging Diana to move to America, it's been claimed by some of the royal's close friends that she was planning to move across the pond before her untimely death. In 2020, Diana's butler and confidant Paul Burrell told CBS News of his employer's plans to buy a house in Malibu for herself and her two sons.

Princess Diana wearing pink and white polka-dot dress© Getty
Princess Diana had no real plans to move to California

"I remember she set out in her sitting room, the plans of a home in Malibu, California, the former home of Julie Andrews, and she said to me 'I'm buying this house and buying this house to give William and Harry a new perspective on life'," he said. Diana's voice coach and friend Stewart Pearce echoed this in a 2021 interview with the Daily Mail. Stewart claimed that Diana had intended to move to America amid her blossoming romance with Dodi, and was keen to forge a career in documentary-making in Hollywood. 

"One of the major opportunities that she wanted to create, was to start developing documentaries about three charitable interests that would then be assimilated into major movie pictures," said Stewart. "She was planning on spending a lot of time in Hollywood."

Did Dodi really buy an engagement ring in Paris? 

Yes, Dodi bought a £11,600 engagement ring just hours before his and Diana's death. CCTV footage shown at an inquest in 2007 sees Dodi visit Repossi jeweller's shop, where he inspected rings before leaving with a brochure. In later footage, Claude Roulet, assistant to the president of the Ritz hotel where the couple were staying, visited the shop before taking a bag to Diana and Dodi's Imperial suite. A ring inscribed with the message "Dis-moi Oui", meaning "Tell me Yes", was found in Dodi's flat after their deaths. 

Did Dodi change Diana's London plans for Paris?

According to Diana's former driver and minder, Colin Tebbutt, the princess was due to return to the UK three days before she died but decided to change her plans due to tension with the government over the landmine ban. Before her death, Diana had begun campaigning for the mines to be banned and was met with backlash from Conservative MPs. 

Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed (both partially visible in back seat), bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones (front, left) and driver Henri Paul, in their Mercedes-Benz S280, shortly before the fatal crash which killed Diana, Fayed and Paul, Paris, 31st August 1997© Langevin Jacques
Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed (both partially visible in back seat), bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones (front, left) and driver Henri Paul, in their Mercedes-Benz S280, shortly before the fatal crash which killed Diana, Fayed and Paul, Paris, 31st August 1997

Colin told the Daily Mail in 2021: "She didn't come back on the Thursday as scheduled because the Tories were having a go at her again over landmines. She was accused of using the campaign to boost her own image, which was nasty and upset her. "So she contacted us and said she didn't want all the hassle that would be waiting for her in the UK. She would return at the weekend instead. If she had come back that Thursday... maybe we'd all be alive still today."

What really happened in Harry and William's last conversation with Diana?

The Duke of Sussex opened up about his last conversation with Diana during the 2017 documentary, Diana, Our Mother, in which Harry admitted that he couldn't exactly remember what he said. "I can't really, necessarily, remember what I said. But all I do remember is probably, you know, regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was," revealed the royal, who was 12 at the time of his mother's passing. "And if I'd known that was the last time I was going to speak to my mother – the things I would have said to her."

Did Dodi and Diana change their dinner plans at the last moment?

Yes, Dodi and Diana had intended on eating at Benoit restaurant on the evening that they died but decided to change their plans due to the paparazzi. Instead, they headed to L'Espadon restaurant in the Ritz before deciding to have the food sent to their hotel room. 

Did Dodi propose to Diana? 

At an inquest into the couple's death in 2008, Mohamed Al-Fayed's press spokesperson, Michael Cole, said that Dodi had given Diana the ring hours before they died. He also said that Dodi had given him "the strongest indication that he was going to marry Diana". 

What was Mohamed's last conversation with Dodi? 

According to Former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil, Mohamed spoke with Dodi on the night of his and Diana's passing. 

The Crown season five recap

Imelda Staunton as The Queen in The Crown© The Crown
Imelda Staunton as The Queen in The Crown
  • Prince Charles and Princess Diana marriage breakdown

Season five began with Princess Diana devastated that their second honeymoon was halted abruptly by Princes Charles. 

  • "Queen Victoria Syndrome"

Prince Charles met with the Prime Minister after a published poll about the public's opinion of the monarchy. The idea of The Prince's Trust was born. 

  • Princess Diana In Her Own Words

Princess Diana was approached by journalist Andrew Morton to write the book, In Her Own Words. 

  • Annus Horribilis

The Queen's 'Annus Horribilis' was in 1992 following a fire at Windsor Castle, and the breakdown of two of her son's marriages. 

  • An intercepted phone call makes the news

A phone call between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles was intercepted by journalists and published in a newspaper. 

  • Panorama Interview

The infamous and now suspect Panorama interview with Princess Diana by Martin Bashir aired much to the royal family's dismay. 

In a Daily Mail article, Andrew recalled visiting Mohamed to pay his respects after Diana and Dodi's death. The journalist, who was hired by Mohamed as a media consultant, said that the Egyptian businessman blamed himself for agreeing to his son's plan to shake off the paparazzi by leaving the hotel for his flat. Andrew revealed that Dodi needed his father's approval to depart The Ritz through the back entrance, as Mohamed owned the hotel.

Diana, Princess Of Wales is seen in St Tropez in the summer of 1997, shortly before Diana and boyfriend Dodi were killed in a car crash in Paris© Michel Dufour
Diana, Princess Of Wales is seen in St Tropez in the summer of 1997, shortly before Diana and boyfriend Dodi were killed in a car crash in Paris

"So Dodi called his dad," Andrew wrote. "His dad spoke to security. He then told Dodi he should just relax with Diana at the Ritz. They were safe and secure in one of the world’s greatest hotel suites. Why leave? Get room service and watch a film. "But Dodi told him Diana was distraught because a paparazzi mob had gathered outside. Mohammed caved in to his son. "He looked at me with a tear in his eye as he recounted this story and said: "I will never forgive myself for going along with Dodi's plan. He would still be alive but for me.'"

Were Harry and William really in Scotland when Diana died? Were they due to see her the next day? 

Prince William and Prince Harry were on holiday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with their father when they learnt of their mother's death. According to reports, the young princes were due to be reunited with their mother the day after she died. 

Fflyn Edwards, Dominic West and Rufus Kampa in The Crown © Keith Bernstein/Netflix
Fflyn Edwards, Dominic West and Rufus Kampa in The Crown

Was Charles with the Queen and Prince Philip when Diana died? 

Yes, Charles was with his two sons and his parents when Diana died as the family were on holiday at Balmoral for the summer. While Charles flew to Paris, the Queen and Prince Philip decided to remain with the two young princes at their Scottish estate.

Did William really think Dodi was ‘weird’? 

In the show, William tells Diana that he thinks Dodi is weird, and frankly asks her – alongside Harry – if they plan on getting engaged, which she emphatically denies. In reality, William has never shared his opinion of Dodi publicly, so we can consider this to be fictionalised for the sake of the show’s narrative. 

Charles looks happy as he joins the slopes with Harry and William
Charles in a throwback photo as he joins the slopes with his teenage sons Harry and William

Did Margaret go to Camilla's 50th birthday party?

Although the show depicts Princess Margaret as supporting Prince Charles and Camilla at his then-girlfriend’s 50th birthday party before warning the Queen that she should offer the couple her support. However, in reality Margaret didn’t go to Camilla’s birthday party, and Charles also didn’t give the emotional speech that we heard on the show. 

Did William go missing after Diana’s death? 

In the show, the royal family go searching for Prince William in the days after Diana’s death after he disappears for several hours walking in the Scottish countryside while dealing with the grief of losing his mother. However, there is no evidence that this ever actually happened in reality. 

Did William really go missing?
Did William really go missing?

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