As tabloids tell it, Diana practically married
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LONDON (CNN) -- The relationship between Princess Diana and
millionaire film producer Dodi Fayed is just a few weeks old,
but Monday's headlines on Britain's royalty-obsessed tabloids
practically had them married.
Newspapers confidently predicted a wedding and compared the
match to Jackie Kennedy's 1968 marriage to Aristotle Onassis.
"Here comes the Fayed," said the Star.
Papers declared that, like Jackie Onassis, Diana needs a
wealthy husband who can provide her with the high life she
craves while sheltering her from the media clamor that
follows her every move.
The 41-year-old Fayed, whose father, Mohammed, is one of the
richest men in the world, would seem to fit the bill for the
princess, who divorced Britain's Prince Charles last year
after a 15-year marriage.
"Whether it will go very much further, I don't know," said
royal family historian Sarah Bradford. "Diana ... is in this
lonely situation and it's a rebound, too .... from all the
various disasters she's had."
Among the "disasters:" An affair with ex-Army officer James
Hewitt and a relationship with rugby star Will Carling, whose
own marriage broke up as a result.
Fayed family controversy
The Fayed family has its share of controversy, too. Although
Mohammed Al Fayed, an Egyptian, has spent three decades in
Britain and owns Harrod's department store, he has been
denied a British passport and is seen in some circles as a
"If (Dodi) enables Mohammed Al Fayed to introduce Princess
Diana as 'my future daughter-in-law' he will have fulfilled
his ambitious father's greatest dream, which is to feel an
integral part of the British aristocracy," Lynda Lee-Potter
wrote in the Daily Mail.
But Bradford notes that the senior Fayed "has been recently
involved in allegedly bribing British MPs (members of
parliament)." The corruption allegations helped bring down
the last British government.
"Dodi Fayed's uncle, on his mother's side, is a well-known
arms dealer," Bradford continued. "I'm sure they're extremely
nice people, but it does cast a slight shadow over things."
Fuzzy photos earn fortune
The Dodi and Diana story became Britain's hottest media
property Sunday when a tabloid newspaper published a series
of photographs that it claims shows the couple kissing and
embracing while on a cruise in the south of France sometime
in the past 10 days.
Such is the interest in Diana's love life that the Italian
photographer who snatched the blurry pictures through a
telephoto lens may have become a millionaire overnight.
The prospect that the princess had finally found love almost
completely overshadowed her trip to Bosnia last week,
intended to highlight the plight of land mine victims -- at
least as far as the British press was concerned.
Diana, who flew back to Britain late Sunday, left a country
where charities struggle to raise 700 pounds ($1,110) for a
pair of artificial limbs. and "she went back to a world
whose media paid 700,000 pounds ($1.1 million) to buy
paparazzi shots," commented the Guardian newspaper.
The Sunday Telegraph said the photographer stood to earn
around $3 million worldwide from the pictures.
And it seems the princess was as interested as anyone else
to see what the papers were saying about her. As she waited
for her plane to take off, reporters spotted her sifting
through a pile of Sunday's tabloids.
Correspondent Margaret Lowrie and Reuters contributed to this
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