Sydney Johnson played a big role in the life of Mohamed Al Fayed as his friend and companion.
He was a pivotal character in The Crown Season 5, so much so that he appeared in almost the entire third episode of the season. But who was Sydney Johnson?
Who was Sydney Johnson?
Sydney Johnson was born in Nassau, The Bahamas in the early 1920s. He stayed in The Bahamas until he was employed by Edward VIII and his wife, Wallis Simpson, in the 1940s, who took him with them when to moved to Paris, in Le Bois.
Johnson first met the Duke and Duchess of Windsor when Edward abdicated the throne and was appointed governor during World War II. He was eventually offered the full-time position as Edward's personal valet, a position he held for over 30 years.
Upon Edward VIII's death in 1972, with Wallis dying a year later, Johnson was forced to resign to take care of his family.
Did Mohamed Al Fayed Hire Sydney Johnson?
Mohamed Al Fayed, a wealthy Egyptian businessman, later employed Johnson when he took a 50-year lease on Le Boise, following Wallis' death. The Parisian government allowed the lease after Al Fayed declared his willingness to spend $2 Million to restore and maintain the royal residence.
Johnson was tasked to curate the belongings of the late Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Al Fayed often commented on Johnson's knowledge of the Duke and Duchess, praising him as a very cultured man.
Johnson died on January 17, 1990, at the age of 90.
Sydney Johnson in The Crown Season 5
Jude Akuwudike played Sydney Johnson in The Crown. He portrayed Johnson as a perfect gentleman who carried himself with pride and dignity.
Akuwudike also showed how Johnson was a great friend to Al Fayed, who valued his opinion and his companionship as they navigated the world they lived in together.