The Dodi and Diana Memorials
There are two memorials located in the Harrods store and Mr Al Fayed’s son’s tomb lies in the ground of his country home.
All three were designed by Bill Mitchell, the honoured close friend of Mr Al Fayed and concept designer for Harrods for more than 40 years.
Lower Ground Floor Memorial in Harrods
On the lower ground floor of Harrods, at the base of Bill Mitchell’s spectacular Egyptian escalator, there is a quiet, candle-lit shrine to Dodi and Diana, Princess of Wales. This memorial was constructed in 1998 with the original intention that it would remain in the store for two weeks only. It is still there to this day due to the vast numbers of people wishing to remember and express their own feelings about the tragedy of Dodi and Diana’s end.
To reflect the happy days of the couple’s last holiday together, their portraits are set amidst sculptured seagulls and Mediterranean plants and leafage. A fountain supports the images, with its endless flow of water symbolising eternal life. The interlinked ‘D’ photo frames illustrate the powerful harmony of this romantic connection. Four candles burn steadily, adding a sense of peacefulness and the passing of time.
The inscription beneath the acrylic pyramid reads:
"The wine glass has been preserved in the exact condition it was left on the couple’s last evening together at the Imperial Suite at the Hotel Ritz in Paris. Dodi bought this engagement ring for Diana on the day before the tragedy."
Above the memorial itself, in the carved walls of the Egyptian escalators on the third floor, is Dodi’s handprint set in stone. It was the summer of 1997 and Bill Mitchell was finishing his Egyptian escalator masterpiece, when he suggested to Mr. Al Fayed that it may be possible to have all of the family set their hands in the wet cement. Dodi came with the family to do so. Ten days later, Dodi was dead, whilst the imprint of his hand remains, reminding the world of the shock-felt loss of his life.
Door Three Memorial in Harrods
On 1st September 2005, eight years after Dodi and Diana’s deaths, Mohamed Al Fayed unveiled a second remembrance shrine in Harrods. The bronze statue of the couple dancing is entitled “Innocent Victims” and is located at Door Three. It is a life-sized sculpture of Diana and Dodi gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes as they release an albatross into the sky.
Dodi and Diana’s love brought Muslim and Christian faith together in the meeting of their souls. The Eastern and Western traditions are interlaced through the symbol, applicable to both religions, of the bird as Holy Spirit.
The figures of Dodi and Diana emanate freedom as they dance together beneath the protective wings of the bird. Mr. Al Fayed has stated, “This is a statue to stay here forever” as a monument dedicated to his late son and the Princess.
A large, leather bound book lies open and is signed by people from all over the world, who are united in their loss on the mezzanine, at Door Three, in Harrods. Messages, inscribed in various languages, fill one book every two weeks.
Dodi’s Memorial at Oxted
Set in the grounds of Mohamed Al Fayed’s country estate in Oxted, Surrey, lies the tomb of Dodi. It was intended to be a temporary structure, designed by Bill Mitchell with the input of Mr Al Fayed. This home was made for Dodi’s grave to last until a more formal mausoleum would be erected made out of Italian marble. However, the more elaborate replacement has remained only as a design model in the studios of Bill Mitchell.
Once Mr Al Fayed viewed the original mausoleum, he decided that it was so peaceful and fitting to Dodi’s presence that it would remain forever. The structure is rugged, yet the atmosphere is intensely dignified. The grave lies at the heart of the mausoleum, with the echoing simplicity of the inscription, “Dodi”.
There is nothing imposing about this remembrance site. There is a timber roof decorated with ivy, 12 supporting pillars, and a stone floor. The timber structure has become part of the landscape, open to the forces of nature. Bill Mitchell has drawn the parallel between this setting and Dodi’s love of the outdoors. He comments: “Because of its design, the mausoleum fits perfectly in the surrounding area. There is some shelter, but it does not keep out the rain or the wind. It means Dodi is a part of nature”.
Mr Al Fayed says:
"I wanted Dodi’s final resting place to be somewhere beautiful and peaceful. In Egypt, we believe that the soul returns to the place that gave happiness, comfort and security. We feel that the soul continues to live in the place he loved and enjoyed.
"This was Dodi’s favourite place, he grew up here from the age of ten and I feel his presence here. I come here every day, often when I am tired, perhaps for two or three hours, and memories come back to me as I sit.
"I say prayers and think of Dodi, but I also sometimes do my work here or take breakfast. My children come here and play and run around. There is a nice atmosphere."
The quiet retreat of Dodi’s burial place is closed to the public and is a testament to the Al Fayed family’s terrible loss.