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Harrods Loses A Royal Seal

The battle between Harrods department store owner Mohammed Al-Fayed and Queen Elizabeth's husband Phillip has taken another turn, reports CBS News Correspondent Tom Rivers.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the Duke of Edinburgh's warrant -- his royal seal of appeal -- will be withdrawn from the luxury store at the end of this year after more than four decades. The official reason: a decline in the prince's trade with Harrods.

But just last month, al Fayed came out with the strongest statement yet regarding his theory that Prince Phillip masterminded the death of Princess Diana and his son, Dodi.

Fayed, an Egyptian-born tycoon, has challenged Prince Philip to sue him. But Buckingham palace said the allegations had nothing to do with Thursday's decision.

"The reason for withdrawing the warrant is very clear -- the decision not to renew is because of a decline in the trading relationship, nothing else," a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

Royal warrants are five-year contracts which are reviewed twelve months before their expiry date.

Harrods spokesperson Laurie Mayer said the amount of goods purchased by Prince Philip was negligible and admitted that two further royal warrants -- the Queen's and Prince Charles' -- were likely to be withdrawn when they come up for review at the end of the year.

"We don't discuss the exact level of trade but it's not great -- it's never been tremendous," Mayer said.

Prince Philip's warrant dates back to 1956, the Queen's to 1955 and Prince Charles' to 1980. The Queen Mother has an open-ended warrant with the store which began in 1938.

©2000 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Reuters contributed to this report

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