In a poignant revelation, Mohamed Al Fayed expressed regret for agreeing to his son Dodi's plea to approve an escape plan from The Ritz, ultimately leading to the tragic accident involving Princess Diana in August 1997. According to journalist Andrew Neil's column in the Daily Mail, Dodi devised a plan to evade the swarm of paparazzi gathered outside the prestigious hotel by slipping out through a back exit and heading to his Champs-Elysées apartment.
Initially, Al Fayed tried to persuade his son to stay in the hotel's Imperial Suite and watch a film, dismissing the need for an elaborate escape plan. However, Dodi insisted that Diana was "distraught" due to the photographers outside the hotel, craving the chance to spend time together in the privacy of his flat.
The security team at The Ritz refused to assist Dodi in leaving through the back exit, leading him to seek his father's approval. Mohamed Al Fayed, ultimately relenting, later expressed deep remorse for going along with the plan, saying, "I will never forgive myself for going along with Dodi's plan. He would still be alive but for me."
The decision to leave the hotel was made at the last moment, with the couple opting for a circuitous route to Dodi's apartment, passing through a tunnel. Tragically, shortly after midnight on August 31, 1997, while executing the escape plan, the driver of the armoured Mercedes-Benz lost control, resulting in the fatal accident that claimed the lives of Diana, Dodi, and security guard Trevor Rees-Jones. An inquest into Diana's death later ruled it as unlawful killing due to grossly negligent driving by the driver Henri Paul and the pursuing paparazzi vehicles.
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