The Crown: The Sad, Strange Details of Princess Diana’s Last Vacation

Despite the press outrage over her association with Mohamed, Diana agreed to return to the Jonikal for the intimate trip reimagined in “Two Photographs.” “Alone in August and attracted to [Dodi], [a] sympathetic, unthreatening listener, she accepted the invitation for a second trip alone with Dodi to the Jonikal on 31 July,” wrote Bower in Fayed. “Over the next six days…the two frolicked on the sundecks, inside the sumptuous craft and in the sea.”

Dodi indulged Diana with her favorite meals—“which included carrot juice in the morning, fruit at lunch, and fish in the evening, as well as plenty of Champagne, caviar, and pâté de foie gras,” according to Diana in Search of Herself. The music was Diana’s selection as well: George Michael’s 1996 album, Older, the occasional Frank Sinatra tune, and the soundtrack of The English Patient. “Such a marvelous film,” Diana raved to Dodi’s butler, Rene Delorm, according to Fayed. “And you miss the music when you’re watching.”

Mohamed’s staff was so attentive to Diana that the Jonikal’s chief stewardess, Deborah Gribble, could remember the tiniest detail, like that some of Diana’s birth control packets were half-used. Speaking at the inquest, she also confirmed that Dodi and Diana “were clearly having a relationship and were a couple.”

Dodi lavished Diana with gifts during their six-week courtship, including a pearl bracelet, a diamond-studded wristwatch, a silver photo frame, and a gold-and-diamond ring. When the Jonikal docked in Sardinia’s Porto Cervo, according to Brown’s The Diana Chronicles, Diana and Dodi went shopping and returned with cashmere sweaters for the princess—one in every color. 

Mohamed, meanwhile, was busy behind the scenes calling press. News of the relationship between Diana and Dodi broke the first week of August, less than a month before Diana’s death. The Sun ran the news with the headline “Di’s Secret Hol With Harrods Hunk Dodi,” while Mohamed’s publicist touted the relationship as “the romance of the century.”

But by the end of the trip, according to those who knew Diana, she intended their fling to be just that. The late princess suspected that Dodi might propose to her, according to Brown, but she told a friend that an engagement ring would be “going firmly on the fourth finger of my right hand” should it be presented. As recreated in “Two Pictures,” there was “a chaotic evening ashore in Monte Carlo when Dodi suddenly decided to send for the tender and take the princess for a walk.” Rather than going for a romantic stroll, however, Dodi “got her lost after a long pant up a hill trying to evade the paparazzi,” Brown writes. 

It was so embarrassing, she continues, that Trevor Rees-Jones, a bodyguard on Mohamed’s payroll, “began to feel sorry for the princess; he believed she deserved better.”

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