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Diana’s Personal Butler Reveals A Princess We Thought We Knew

Gold Coast Bulletin

Princess Diana's sudden death in 1997 shocked everyone, and while her fans and admirers around the world grappled with the news, her death was even tougher on those who knew her best.

The young princes, Diana's brother and Prince Charles at Diana's 1997 funeral.NBC

Recently, both Prince William and Harry have talked candidly about how the princess's death affected them. It wasn't easy losing a mother at such a young age, but of course they've both grown up to be happy and successful. They've shared their fond childhood memories of Diana, and her closest friends have also remembered her life.

Butler Paul Burrell worked for Princess Diana in her final years.Lady First

One of the people closest to Diana in the years just before her death was Paul Burrell, a longtime member of the Royal Family's personal staff. While we only have Burrell's memory of her exact words, he remembers the princess calling him her "rock," and "the only man she ever trusted."

But the princes have their own view of Burrell, saying he committed "cold and overt betrayal" of their mother's trust after her death.

Burrell (back, left) as a footman for the Queen and Prince Phillip.All Action

Before he met Diana, Burrell lived an interesting life; he was born to blue-collar workers, but decided to dedicate his life to working in Buckingham Palace after seeing the Changing of the Guard during a childhood trip to London.

Burrell managed to achieve his dream, starting as a footman at the palace at age 18. He gradually worked his way up to becoming the Queen's personal footman, then spent time as Prince Charles and Princess Diana's footman, before finally becoming the princess's personal butler.

Burrell worked his way up from a royal footman to Diana's personal butler.Mirror

And during Diana's final years, she shared her most intimate secrets with Burrell.

Like Diana's sons, the thing Burrell remembers most about the princess is her "mischievous" sense of humor.

Diana's sons also remember her love of laughter and jokes.Hello!

She once sent him on an errand to a nearby pharmacy to pick up a few pregnancy tests - she would later leave them for her husband to find as a little prank. One of Burrell's most surprising memories is when Diana made him drive her around London looking for prostitutes.

“She would give them money, especially when it was cold and wet, and tell them to go home," Burrell claimed in a court document. “I saw her give £50 notes to them on condition that they went home and stopped working." He says that Diana eventually became on first name basis with a few of the women, and even bought them designer Marc Jacobs clothes.

Burrell claims he helped Diana cover up her affairs.Daily Mail

But Burrell's most scandalous memory involved sneaking Diana's lovers into the palace by hiding them in the trunk of his car. Burrell says he would tell palace guards that he was on important business for the princess, and return with a man - usually heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan - in the trunk of his car, so they would never be officially registered as Diana's guest.

The princess was said to be "madly in love" with Dr. Khan.REX

Not only does Burrell admit to helping Diana meet her lovers in secret, he claims to have covered up her affairs as well. Speaking as a source "close to the princess," Burrell says he helped to quash rumors about her relationship with Dodi Fayed, the man who died alongside Diana in her 1997 car crash.

Burrell says he helped quiet rumors about Diana and Fayed's affair.Mirror

But Burrell's friendly relationship with the princess ended on a sour note, and to this day her sons still hold a grudge because of what he did.

Of course, after working closely with the princess for years, Burrell was hit hard by her sudden death.

Burrell says he slept in Diana's wardrobe after she died.Gold Coast Bulletin

In a TV special earlier this year, Burrell admits that he missed the princess so badly that he slept inside her wardrobe in the days after her death. He also kept a sample of her perfume as a memento, which may have gotten Burrell into some trouble years later.

After Diana's death in 1997, Burrell was given the Royal Victoria Medal by the Queen in honor of his service to the Royal Family. But in 2002, he was charged with allegedly stealing more than 300 items belonging to Diana. The case against the "only man she ever trusted" was thrown out after the Queen weighed in, saying that Burrell was given permission to look after Diana's things.

Burrell outside of court in 2002.BBC

In the years since the court case, Burrell has written a pair of tell-all books about his life - A Royal Duty and The Way We Were: Remembering Diana. Revealing so much that Diana shared with him in confidence has put Burrell on the princes' bad side - permanently. Burrell says neither of the princes have spoken to him in 20 years.

Burrell and Prince Harry.Hello!

In recent years, Burrell has made a new career for himself as a TV host and reality show competitor, but he still keeps a photo of the princess in his home to remind him of their time together. While he still remembers himself as Diana's rock, her mother Frances Shand Kydd has her own take on their relationship:

The Royal Family holds a grudge against Burrell for revealing Diana's secrets.Daily Star

She calls Burrell "just another hanger-on grasping at Diana’s celebrity.”

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