A Grand Farewell To Harrods
There was a record turn-out at Harrods for the Christmas Parade, a tradition I instated 25 years ago when I first bought Harrods with my brothers. Every year I wanted the parade to be bigger and better than the one before, and this year was no exception.
In a carnival of colour acrobats, street performers, musicians and characters from Peter Pan danced, leapt and sang their way through the streets of Knightsbridge towards Harrods, leading Father Christmas to the Christmas Grotto where countless children and their parents will confide in him their secret Christmas wishes.
London had no such procession before 1985, the year I bought Harrods from the Fraser brothers. Now it is as much a part of the London calendar as Trooping the Colour, and is a celebrated family occasion that thousands turn out to watch every year. It is a truly magical spectacle and I’m proud to have been responsible for making it a landmark event for Harrods, and for London.
I’ve spent the last 25 years of my life making Harrods what it is today – the greatest store on earth – and looking around me at all the smiling faces, I realised just how much I have achieved at Harrods and the joy events like this one bring to children and their families.
I was sad too, in many ways, that Saturday, my last official day at the store, and was so touched by the emotion in the crowd. Many people went out of their way to thank me for everything I’d brought to Harrods, some with tears in their eyes. It was overwhelming at times.
I will miss Harrods, and I will miss the people there, but Saturday made me realise how much I want to spend some quality time with my own family. Because there is no greater thing in the world than your family, and spending more time with mine is something I am very much looking forward to.
I wish everyone at Harrods the best of luck – it’s been an amazing part of my life and I hope it continues to delight every single one of the visitors who go there every year. But for now, from me to Harrods, it is adieu.