LONDON, Sept. 4 -- A published report (Thursday) says Harrods chairman Mohammed al-Fayed, who lost his son Dodi in the car crash that killed Diana, Princess of Wales, has sent four vans and staff to provide refreshment to the tens of thousands lining up to sign books of condolence. Harrods vans with 20 volunteer staff were sent to dispense tea, coffee and sandwiches Wednesday night to the mourners waiting in the rain for up to 10 hours outside St. James' Palace before they could write their farewell messages in one of 43 books of condolence.
Police officers monitoring the crowds criticised the absence of refreshment facilities after authorities banned mobile vendors from operating in The Mall and St. James' Park. One senior police officer told The Times newspaper: 'It is just as well those here to pay their respects are behaving with absolute dignity because nothing has been done to make their wait easier.' The Salvation Army and the Women's Royal Voluntary Service were only able to supply two small mobile canteens and it was at this point al- Fayed made his offer to Buckingham Palace. A Harrods spokesman said: 'Mr al-Fayed was so moved by the sight of all those waiting so patiently that he wanted to do something to make it as comfortable as possible. We will stay here as long as we are allowed and a shuttle service of vehicles will keep us replenished.' Diana's body lies in the privacy of the Chapel Royal. The crowds are not allowed access to the chapel, but Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, visited the chapel Wednesday afternoon and her sister-in- law, Sarah, Duchess of York, spent two hours there on Wednesday night. ---
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