The Crown S05 Casts Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed, Salim Daw as Father

It was probably inevitable. Looks like The Crown will be delving into the doomed relationship between Diana, Princess of Wales, and Egyptian playboy Dodi Fayed that ended with their deaths. Variety reported that The Kite Runner star Khalid Abdalla has been cast as Dodi and double up with Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Di in the 5th season of the show. Salim Daw has been cast as Dodi's billionaire father Mohamed Al-Fayed, the former owner of Harrods. Diana allegedly became romantically involved with Dodi, a film producer who was considered something of a playboy, in the summer of 1997. Their relationship set off a paparazzi frenzy that ended only when they both died in a tragic car crash in Paris just a few months later. It spawned an ongoing conspiracy theory that the Royal Family had her whacked.

The Crown
Images: AMC/screencaps

The Crown producers have not revealed whether the crash itself will be depicted on screen. Chances are it will occur off-screen since many people would consider that to be too in bad taste. The show will more likely show the before and the after, especially the fallout. Debicki takes over the role from Emma Corrin, who played the young Diana in Season 4, which depicted Diana Spencer's first meeting Charles through to the implosion of their marriage shortly after the birth of Prince William. Prince Charles will be played by Dominic West in Seasons 5 and 6, regenerating off-screen from Josh O'Connor, since they look nothing alike and there is no biologically possible way for O'Connor to age to look like West.

Imelda Staunton will portray the latest regeneration of Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce as the real-life late Prince Philip. Lesley Manville will play Charles's aunt Princess Margaret, who has to be a regeneration since she looks nothing like the previous versions played by Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham-Carter, and Jonny Lee Miller stars as Prime Minister John Major, which is really weird.

Season 4 ended in the late 1980s. Season 5 will take the royal family through the 1990s, certainly including the Queen's so-called "annus horribilis" (Latin for "horrible year") in 1992, during which three of her four children separated from their partners and Windsor Castle caught fire, which happens from time to time but not everyone knows that. In 1995 Diana gave a controversial interview to BBC's Martin Bashir about her relationship with Charles, in which she uttered the immortal line that there were "three people" in her marriage, referring to Charles's mistress (and now wife) Camilla Parker-Bowles.

The years after Diana's death in 1997 were also a low point for the family. As well as dealing with her two grieving grandsons, the Queen's popularity reached its lowest point because of how she handled Diana's death. That period was depicted in the movie The Queen, which starred Helen Mirren as perhaps Elizabeth II's ultimate regeneration on screen, and which was written by The Crown's creator Peter Morgan. The Crown is streaming on Netflix.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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