Mohamed Al Fayed often said that when he died he wanted to be buried on the roof of Harrods in a pyramid, like a modern pharaoh.

That long-held ambition dissolved when he sold the Knightsbridge store in 2010 – something he once vowed never to do.

As it happens, his final resting place was less extraordinary but nonetheless remarkable: a burial chamber next to that of his son Dodi in a mausoleum guarded by statues of lions and sphinxes on the family’s 226-acre estate in Surrey. .

Consisting of a simple wooden pergola with a pine beam roof, it has 12 supporting wooden pillars and a natural stone floor.

Four permanently lit candles surround the grave of Dodi, who was killed alongside Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris 26 years ago. In his final years, his Egyptian father – who died Wednesday aged 94 and was buried on Friday – spent long hours in the shadow of the mausoleum, mourning his son.

“I come here every day, maybe for two or three hours, and memories come back to me when I’m sitting,” Mr Al Fayed once said.

Mohamed Al Fayed often said that when he died he wanted to be buried on the roof of Harrods in a pyramid, like a modern pharaoh.

Mr Al Fayed with his son Dodi, killed in the same crash that killed Diana in 199

Mr Al Fayed (right) with Prince Charles (back to camera) and Diana at a Harrods sponsored polo match in 1987

“I say prayers and think of Dodi, but sometimes I do my work here or eat my breakfast. »

According to a source close to the family, it was ‘fate’ that he died on the eve of the anniversary of Dodi and Princess Diana’s deaths 26 years ago.

The 18-foot mausoleum, located across a stream a few minutes’ walk from the 17th-century family home, was built on what was once Dodi’s polo ground. One of Mr. Al Fayed’s brothers is buried in another of the eight chambers.

For such a flamboyant billionaire, Mr Al Fayed’s funeral at London’s Central Mosque in Regent’s Park was surprisingly low-key.

After all, this was a man who, besides Harrods, also owned the Ritz in Paris and the Fulham Football Club, and whose business interests spanned the globe.

He led a fleet of ships and built an empire of properties in London, Paris, New York, Geneva and Saint-Tropez. He installed the Egyptian Room at Harrods, which housed several busts of himself, and he also created a memorial to Dodi and Diana, who were dating at the time of their deaths.

Mr Al Fayed cultivated prime ministers, but there was not a single dignitary at his funeral, not even the Egyptian ambassador. Surprising the media, a hasty invitation was issued – photocopied notices pinned to the pillars of the mosque – asking worshipers to join the service after the jummah, or Friday noon prayers.

Mohamed Al Fayed pictured in Paris in 2016. He sold Harrods and Fulham FC – his biggest UK business holdings – in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

Mr Al Fayed bought Fulham FC in 1997, his cash injection helping to propel the club into the Premier League and European competitions in just a few years. He is pictured here in 2011

Mohamed Al Fayed with the Queen in 1997. His business dealings and charity work brought him into high society.

Undertakers SM Funerals said it was deliberately low-key in accordance with the family’s wishes.

It is unclear whether Mr Al Fayed, who suffered from dementia, died at home, although his body was recovered from a London hospital on Friday and brought to the mosque where a ritual bath was performed, after which he was placed in the coffin.

Only about 30 mourners – family members and close friends – traveled with the hearse.

A 45-second cellphone video was shared on Arab social media showing Mr Al Fayed’s coffin laid in the mosque’s hall, guarded by family members and friends, as worshipers filed past looking at their cell phones.

The coffin was draped in a green cloth bearing verses from the Quran. Mr Al Fayed has always maintained that Dodi and Diana were killed by British security services. His claims led to the Harrods store being stripped of its four royal warrants – the right to state that a business supplies goods by appointment to the royal family.

Michael Cole, a former journalist who worked as public affairs director at Harrods, said some people could never “forgive” his boss for buying the store. “He wasn’t smug, he didn’t fit in with the British establishment,” Mr Cole said.

“And I think some people could never forgive an Egyptian for buying their favorite store in Brompton Road, Harrods. »

He added: “He has never been so happy to come down to the trade counter, cut salami for some of his customers and talk to them. The thing is, if you talk to the people who actually knew him, who worked for him, who were his clients, they have a completely different point of view than those who sit in their ivory tower and shoot him. .

Mr Al Fayed made his first application for British citizenship in 1995, but his application was refused. In 1999, a few weeks after this request had been granted to his brother Ali, he filed a new request. This time he was declared unfit to hold a British passport by then Home Secretary Jack Straw.

He appealed the decision, but three judges of the Court of Appeal rejected his request.

Jonathan Aitken, whose ministerial career took a hit with the help of Mr Al Fayed when he revealed the then Tory MP had stayed for free at the tycoon’s Paris hotel, the Ritz, at the same time that a group of Saudi arms dealers, said yesterday: “Mr. Al Fayed was a five-star crackpot, but I have no grudge against him.

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