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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Harrods silent for Diana and Dodi
By Victoria Bone
BBC News, Harrods

A moving tribute has been held for Diana, Princess of Wales, at Harrods - led by the man who lost his son in the crash that killed her.

Mohamed Al Fayed asked shoppers at the department store to stand in silence with him for two minutes at 1100 BST to remember the princess and his son Dodi Al Fayed.

Dodi and Diana statue
The memorial statue's plinth reads "innocent victims"

More than 100 people gathered, including many Harrods staff and Princess Diana supporters of all ages.

Jackie Kelson, 27, from Lancaster, said: "We were in London anyway, but we wanted to come here because we didn't know where else to go.

"I wanted to remember her, but I thought there would be something in Hyde Park, or something more organised for people to go to."

Her husband, Mark, 40, said: "It's not much is it? Two minutes out of your day, but it means something."

Margaret Mason, from Florida, said: "Mohamed Al Fayed lost his son as well - I think people often forget that, but they shouldn't."

Edith Robbs, 70, from Stratford, east London, said simply: "She was special. We loved her."

Mr Al Fayed stood behind the bronze statue of his son Dodi and Princess Diana, which stands as a permanent memorial to them in the department store.

Ciao grande principessa [Goodbye great princess]
Condolence book inscription

He thanked the gathering before bowing his head and falling silent. Apart from a rogue mobile phone, the silence was immaculately observed and there was emotion visible on many faces.

Then after the silence, applause.

Mr Al Fayed surprised everyone when he walked down to greet the well-wishers and took time to shake their hands.

In accents from all over the world, people said they were sorry, that they wished him well, and that they missed them both very much.

In return Mr Al Fayed smiled and even hugged some people, he took flowers too, including pink roses from one little girl.

Visible pain

The reverend Jesse Jackson made a surprise appearance and spoke quietly to Mr Al Fayed in front of the crowd.

"You could see the pain on his face," said Anne Knowles, 52, from Newcastle, of Mr Al Fayed.

There were two books of condolence at Harrods. One outside the store stands by a mound of flowers and in front of the memorial display created to mark the 10th anniversary.

Inside, a second book stands behind the statue of Dodi and Princess Diana, and its plinth, which reads: "Innocent victims."

It was signed in many different languages today, but the sentiments were universal. One family from Harlow in Essex wrote: "There will never be another lady like you Diana."

Another said simply: "Ciao grande principessa [Goodbye great princess]."

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