Friday 27 April 2018

Fayed burns royal crests as Diana movie set for Galway

Mohamed Al Fayed. Photos: PA
Mohamed Al Fayed. Photos: PA

Robert Mendick

Mohamed Fayed burns the royal warrants that used to adorn Harrods in the final scene of a controversial documentary on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

As he looks on at the bonfire, he turns to the camera and brands the Duke of Edinburgh a "Nazi". Even the film's makers admit the burning of the crests is likely to be viewed as "spiteful".

Yesterday, critics condemned the decision to film the burning of the royal crests as malicious and vengeful.

Hugo Vickers, the royal historian and author, said: "It does seem vindictive and in very bad taste to burn the warrants but I suppose it's up to him. He was the shopkeeper."

The film, entitled Unlawful Killing, has already provoked outrage for including a close-up photograph of Diana taken moments after the Mercedes -- in which she and Mr Fayed's son Dodi were travelling -- crashed in a Paris underpass.

At one stage in the controversial documentary Queen Elizabeth is labelled a "gangster in a tiara".

Made with €2.4m funding from Mr Fayed, who sold the Harrods department store last year, the film will not be shown in Britain for legal reasons (reportedly 87 cuts must be made for it to comply with British libel laws), but it will soon receive its first public screening -- here in Ireland, at the Galway Film Fleadh on July 6.

The documentary has secured distribution deals in Russia, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland, and there is also interest in the US.

Shown to distributors at a private viewing at the Cannes film festival in May, Unlawful Killing was roundly condemned as "ludicrous", "cynical" and "cruel".

Still images from the final scene, which have been shown to journalists, show Mr Fayed in the grounds of his country estate near Oxted in Surrey with the film's director Keith Allen, the father of the pop singer Lily Allen.

With the warrants burning, Mr Fayed addresses the camera, declaring: "Powerful people in this country -- my country -- don't want to hear me talking about Prince Philip's Nazi background, but I have to, because it is 100 per cent true.''

Mr Vickers said it was completely untrue to suggest that the Duke of Edinburgh had "a Nazi background".

An inquest in 2008 ruled that the princess and Dodi Fayed were unlawfully killed, but blamed their deaths on their driver, Henri Paul, and the paparazzi.


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