11 Jul 2013


Jenny Matlock
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.


  1. I didn't even know Harrods had been sold. Once again I rely on you to keep me up to date on new information. Last time I went to Harrods I was so overwhelmed i had to leave. But not before I had to pay 1GBP to use the ladies room.

  2. I haven't been to the store but it looks glorious. I did hear the other day that it was owned by Qatar.

  3. Very interesting report, Gattina! I didn't know anything about Al Fayed! But what I see is that the Quatar buy a lot and it's the same in France! Love the art! Must be something to visit! Have a nice day! Finland is at home again with a finnish friend of anaïs. A very kind girl.

  4. Hi Gattina - great photos .. and yes the tie in with Diana - is difficult to say the least ... a new film is out shortly, as is a new tv programme on Channel 4 next week - you might be here ...

    Royal Warrants are interesting to know about .. I hadn't realised he'd burnt the Harrods ones ..

    Cheers Hilary

  5. I didn't realize Harrod's had been sold. We went in when we were there in 2011. I was amazed at how beautifully decorated the store was!

  6. It’s many years since I last went to Harrods; we used to buy things in the Sales there, like a King-sized bed, Irish table linen and Orrefors glass.

    It’s a wonderful store but nowadays I don’t really want anything any more and on a journey to London I prefer to go to John Lewis, where I can buy less fancy things which are useful and attractive.

    I also go to Selfridges, although that store is always full of Arabs and the goods are aimed at overseas purchasers.

  7. Harrods had a concessionary store in Singapore once. I didn't know it was sold. I would love to window shop at Harrods one day :)

  8. If I was Al Fayed I would take this personally as well.There is certainly something very sinister about all this.Diana was right that Charles is not fit to be king.The Queen makes such a to do about protocol and made every ones life miserable and now to have a man who treated his wife so shabbily and to put a weed on the throne after throwing away an English Rose, well......it just doesn't jive. Charles wants to be king soo bad.
    I hope his Mother outlives him.
    William should be the next king.

  9. The artwork in that place is fabulous! And your shots of it are exquisite! You made me want to visit it!

  10. The store is beautiful, but I find the memorial a little creepy.....

  11. We went to Harrods when we were in London in 2007. I'm not much of a shopper, but this is an experience not to be missed of course and I loved it. -- I didn't know anything about the politics with the Royal warrants, that's very interesting.

  12. Always fun to window shop at Harrods.

  13. Harrod's is on my bucket list... LOL

  14. I've never been to Harrods but it looks like I could spend a lot there.

    hope you have a sweet day.

  15. Fascinating! I'm not much for shopping, but I think it would be interesting to visit it as a tourist site.

  16. I've heard of Harrods - think I've been in one American store. But to go into the original store would be a thrill. Didn't know all that history about Diana... The store reminds me of the Masterpiece Theatre set of Mr. Selfridge! {:-Deb

  17. When I was in London I drove by in the on again off again bus but we didn't stop. I agree with you that the memorial is in sort of bad taste...but different cultures have different ways I suppose. I can't imagine that the ring is real...perhaps it's just a substitute. Wouldn't they need security?

  18. I am not much of a shopping kind of girl, but it would be amazing to go to a place like this.

    I remember going to a huge store like this in New York City but it was so overwhelming I just road up and down the escalator and then left!

    Love all that glass work!

    Thanks for a fascinated link to the letter "H".



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