11 Jul 2013
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday
When I was in London the last time, together with my friend Ilona who had never been to Harrods I took her to this quiet amazing store ! It had been a very long time I had been there, at least 18 years ago. At that time the store belonged to Al-Fayed and was the holder of royal warrants from:
Queen Elizabeth II (Provisions and Household Goods)
The Duke of Edinburgh (Outfitters)
The Prince of Wales (Outfitters and Saddlers)
The late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (China and Glass)
The store occupies a 5-acre (20,000 m2) site and has over one million square feet (90,000 m2) of selling space in over 330 departments making it the biggest department store in Europe Harrods founder Charles Henry Harrod first established his business in 1824, he was 25 !
All this changed after the death of Diana on August 31, 1997, as she had a very much critizised relationship with Al-Fayed's son Dodi.
In August 2010, in a letter to the Daily Telegraph, chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed revealed that he had burnt Harrods royal warrants, after taking them down in 2000. Harrods had held the Royal warrants since 1910. The Duke of Edinburgh removed his warrant in January 2000, the other warrants were removed from Harrods by Al-Fayed in December, pending their five yearly review. The Duke of Edinburgh had been banned from Harrods by Al-Fayed.
In 2010 Qatar Holdings became the new owners of Harrods, after Fayed announces he has sold the shop. It had been reported that Qatar Holdings paid £1.5 billion ($ 2.2) for the Knightsbridge store.
It hadn't changed at all after all these years
The window displays were still very special and creative
The different departments are beautifully decorated
And the ceilings real artwork
We walked around but didn't buy anything of course, as our wallet was not full enough and paying with a credit card could lead us to bankruptcy !
Although I didn't like the fact to find a memorial of Diana and Dodi in this store, the curiosity won over the feelings !
So we went down the beautiful staircase leading to the Egyptian department.
and looked at this memorial which was unveiled on 12 April 1998, consisting of photographs of the two behind a pyramid-shaped display that holds a wine glass smudged with lipstick from Diana's last dinner as well as what is described as an engagement ring Dodi purchased the day before they died. This diamond ring was so enormous, that I thought a woman with some taste would never wear such a "show" ring. It sparkled so much that it was hard to take a picture. I would need two fingers to wear such a ring. Of course there were many people standing there taking photos just as I did. Al-Fayed has sold Harrods under the condition that this memorial has to stay.