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Jenny Bond, Royal Correspondent reports
"Harrods was one of the few companies to hold all royal warrants"
 real 28k

Nicholas Witchell, court correspondent
"Attention will now focus on the Warrants of the Queen and the Prince of Wales"
 real 28k

Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 19:28 GMT
Harrods loses Royal Warrant

Al-Fayed in Harrods Mr al-Fayed has yet to comment on the move

London's most famous department store, Harrods, has lost one of its Royal Warrants - that bestowed by the Duke of Edinburgh.

It is being withdrawn on 31 December 2000 because of a "significant decline in the trading relationship" between the duke and the store, a Palace spokesman said.

Withdrawn: The Duke's warrant
But it is understood that Prince Philip was angered by allegations made by owner Mohamed al-Fayed during the recent libel trial brought by ex-Tory MP Neil Hamilton.

Mr al-Fayed accused the Duke of masterminding the 1997 car crash in Paris that killed Diana, Princess of Wales and his son Dodi.

Harrods has had his Royal Warrant since 1956 and currently has four warrants from the Queen, the Queen Mother, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The warrants come up for review every five years and their renewal generally depends on how much the shop is being used by the Royal Family.

Mr al-Fayed's spokesman played down the decision.

"The commercial impact will be minimal," said Laurie Mayer.

"People go to the store because they like what they see. Whether or not the Duke of Edinburgh is buying shirts isn't going to make much difference.

"The Duke of Edinburgh is perfectly entitled to shop wherever he likes, it's his choice."

"Levels of trading with Harrods by the Duke have declined significantly over the past three years and we don't read any more into it than that." This trend predated the death of Diana, he said.

Mr Mayer added: "We were trading for 60 or 70 years before we ever had a royal warrant and doing it very successfully. Royals from all over the world still come here anyway."

Duke of Edinburgh Duke of Edinburgh: Angered by allegations
In a recent interview, after winning the Hamilton libel case, Mr al-Fayed made light of the prospect of losing the warrant.

"If they want to take away Royal Warrants it makes no difference. Harrods has been running without Royal Warrants for a long time. It's up to them."

Harrods will have until the end of the year to remove the Duke's warrant from its packaging and stationery.

The Queen and the Prince of Wales' warrants are due to be reviewed next year.

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See also:
22 Dec 99 |  UK
Al-Fayed - no longer 'by appointment'?
23 Dec 99 |  e-cyclopedia
By Appointment: The ultimate celeb endorsement
21 Dec 99 |  UK
Profile: Mohamed al-Fayed

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