The short-lived romance between Princess Diana and film producer Dodi Fayed drives the first half of The Crown’s sixth and final season, with four episodes of the historical drama arriving on Netflix on Nov. 16.
The couple’s relationship only lasted a short while during the summer of 1997 before they both died in a car crash while being pursued by paparazzi in Paris. But a number of people became collateral damage as a result of their romance. One such individual is American model and actor Kelly Fisher (portrayed in the show by Erin Richards), who was first introduced as Dodi’s girlfriend in Season 5 and returns to the latest season as his fiancée.
When we first see Dodi (Khalid Abdalla) this season, he is in Paris with Fisher and they are due to be married in three weeks. Dodi’s father Mohamed Al-Fayed (Salim Daw), an Egyptian billionaire who previously befriended Diana (Elizabeth Debicki), asks him to come from Paris to Saint-Tropez to help with an anonymous “special guest.” Referring to Dodi’s fiance, by whom he has always been unimpressed, he asks him not to bring the “Madam Bikini. The gold digger.”
As the holiday continues, Fisher becomes increasingly jealous of Dodi’s proximity to Princess Diana, who she calls “the most beautiful woman in the world,” and decides to visit him on the yacht. They argue but ultimately make up and Fisher leaves. This is the murky backdrop against which Diana and Dodi become romantically entangled in the show.
When the couple is photographed kissing by Italian paparazzo Mario Brenna—an image which makes the front pages of the British tabloids—as in real life, Fisher tries to sue Dodi for breach of contract.
As her story hits the screen, here’s what to know about the real Kelly Fisher (now Kelly Movshina).
Who is Kelly Fisher?
Born and raised in Kentucky, Kelly Fisher relocated to Canada when she was 8 with her father, the vice president of an international company. According to an interview given to Aiken Woman in 2014, Fisher began modeling at age 16 when she signed to an agency in Toronto. She also spent a summer modeling in Paris in her early years.
Fisher also said she completed two semesters of college before dropping out to focus on modeling. She graced the pages of Vogue, Elle, and Cosmopolitan, and worked with major fashion brands including Armani, Victoria’s Secret, and Calvin Klein. Fisher traveled around Europe and Asia for work, and met Dodi in Paris in July 1996.
The couple reportedly became engaged after eight months of dating, and Dodi gave Fisher a sapphire and diamond engagement ring ahead of their planned wedding, which was scheduled to take place on Aug. 9, 1997.
How did Fisher and Dodi break up?
When images of Diana and Dodi embracing on a yacht during a romantic vacation in Sardinia became front-page news, Fisher, then 31, was alerted to the affair. She held a press conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., where her lawyer Gloria Allred announced that she was suing Dodi for breach of marital contract, having felt “dismay, shock and shame” after seeing the images.
Allred argued that Dodi encouraged Fisher to spend less time modeling and more time with him, and he allegedly offered her $500,000 as an incentive. Fisher said she only received $60,000, with a $200,000 check bouncing; her lawsuit was seeking the remainder. Fisher’s mother, also present at the press conference, said that she gave Dodi her blessing to marry Fisher in November 1996 and that he “should be ashamed.”
“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,” Allred said during the August 1997 press conference. She added that Fisher had only gone public with her claims to warn Diana, the ins and outs of whose previous relationships had been well documented. At the conference, Fisher invited Diana to speak with her about their overlapping relationships, an invitation that the royal never accepted, according to People.
Dodi denied their engagement at the time, but admitted that he knew Fisher.
In 2008, transcripts of telephone conversations between Dodi and Fisher were made public by the Royal Courts of Justice. Fisher could be heard chastising Dodi for falling out of love with her and pursuing Diana while they were still involved. “We were together the whole time. And you knew it,” Fisher said. Dodi could be heard insisting that they had broken up by then, and called Fisher “hysterical.”
How did Fisher react to Diana and Dodi’s deaths?
When news broke of Diana and Dodi’s deaths, Fisher dropped her lawsuit and issued a statement via Allred. Fisher said she did not regret filing the original complaint, but “voluntarily chose” to drop it “out of respect for the tragedy, and tremendous loss the Fayed family has suffered.”
“Kelly loved Dodi very much, and she is devastated by his loss, and that of Princess Diana,” Allred said on Fisher’s behalf. “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.”
As depicted in The Crown, Mohamed was critical of Fisher, insulting her, according to Vanity Fair, and denying that Dodi had ever proposed to Fisher.
Fisher later met her husband Mikhail Movshina in the Central Republic of Africa in 2007. The couple lived together in Paris and the French Alps, before settling in Aiken, S.C. They welcomed a daughter in 2011.