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|Paul Burrell, RVM|
6 June 1958 |
Grassmoor, Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom
|Occupation||Member of British Royal Household, writer, media personality|
Paul Burrell, RVM (born 6 June 1958) is a former servant of the British Royal Household. He was a footman for Queen Elizabeth II and later butler to Diana, Princess of Wales. Since her death in 1997, Burrell has featured in the media, sometimes prominently, in connection with her, and since 2004 as an occasional entertainment show celebrity.
Burrell is married to Maria Cosgrove, who formerly worked for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The pair met while working In Buckingham Palace together. They have two sons, Alexander and Nicholas. When they married in 1983, established precedent dictated that one of them would have to give up their job with the Royal Family, but Queen Elizabeth II made an exception for them, allowing both to remain in Royal service. This situation earned them a measure of fame at the time. Burrell is a fan of Wrexham Football Club and St Helens Rugby Football Club.
Background and career in the Royal Household
Paul Burrell grew up in Grassmoor, Derbyshire, a coal-mining community in England's Midlands. His father was a lorry driver and it was initially assumed that Burrell would go to work in the local colliery, but had decided aged eight years that he wanted to work at Buckingham Palace after a trip to London with his family, where he witnessed the Changing of the Guard. He attended William Rhodes Secondary School in Chesterfield and left, aged 16, with six O-Levels before attending High Peak College in Buxton where he studied hotel management.
Burrell entered Royal Service at age 18, as a Buckingham Palace footman, becoming the Queen's personal footman a year later. He was nicknamed "Small Paul", to distinguish him from a taller footman, who was known as "Tall Paul" According to his autobiography, he had received a simultaneous job offer from cruise line Cunard but his mother had burned it because "He'll chuff off on that boat and we'll never see him again". In 1987 Burrell joined the household of heir to the throne Charles and Diana at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, where he acted as butler to the princess until her death in August 1997. He was awarded the Royal Victorian Medal in November 1997 for services to the Royal Family.
Diana, Princess of Wales
Burrell claims to have been a faithful butler. Burrell would also claim that Diana, Princess of Wales had described him as "the only man she ever trusted", although there is only Burrell's own writing to support this posthumous statement. Books produced by Burrell would state that she was very fond of him, and she would describe him as her "rock", but her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, detested him and believed that he was "just another hanger-on grasping at Diana's celebrity".
Events since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales
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Since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the ten-year gradual unfolding of the matter leading to a Coroner's Court in 2007-2008, Burrell has been routinely mentioned in the context of Diana, and has gained a measure of renown in the media. At times the coverage has been adverse, for example in a 2002 case where he was charged with theft related to Diana's possessions. The trial collapsed after evidence was given that the Queen had spoken with him regarding disputed events, and a Public Interest Immunity (PII) certificate was presented by the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis that disclosure of certain information would be harmful to the public interest. The aftermath of the collapse of the trial led to the Burrell affair.
In January 2008 Burrell appeared as a witness at the inquest into the death of Diana. Burrell said that he had approached a Catholic priest about a private marriage between Diana and the heart surgeon Dr Hasnat Khan, and he rubbished rumours that Diana was about to announce her engagement to Dodi Fayed. He was also questioned about a letter to him from Diana in October 1993, in which she said her husband was planning to have her killed to make the path clear for him to marry Tiggy Legge-Bourke. The coroner dismissed notions of a "secret" that Burrell knew about Diana that he swore he "would never reveal", as detailed at the end of his book, A Royal Duty. A number of other matters were discussed in relation to this case, many alleged and not proven. These included allegations of perjury at the coroner's court, and allegations regarding his personal life. Burrell stated he would not return to court for fear of being embarrassed and humiliated by the possible questioning.
On 18 February 2008 The Sun newspaper reported that Burrell had admitted, on tape, that he had not told "the whole truth" during his appearance at the Diana inquest; he also said he had thrown in a "few red herrings". Some reports suggested that Burrell could be charged with perjury. The Sun newspaper said it was turning the tape over to the court on 19 February 2008.
Burrell received much criticism for copying Diana's letters and his integrity was called into question. He referred to himself as the princess's "rock," and the coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker accused him of being "a rather porous rock - given in mind what leaked out."
Burrell has since continued to profit from his closeness to the princess.
In 2003, Burrell released his autobiographical book, A Royal Duty, which follows his career as a member of the Royal Family's staff. It deals in detail with his time as butler to the Prince and Princess of Wales at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, his move to Diana's staff at Kensington Palace after her divorce from Prince Charles, and his acquittal on serious theft charges against him. The book was an international bestseller, and was updated in a paperback edition in 2004.
Also in 2004, he was runner up in the ITV reality TV show, I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!. He also had arguments related to his discussions with journalist Janet Street-Porter, regarding criticism to his predilection for talking about the British Royal Family.
In 2005, Burrell became a judge and trainer on Australian Princess, and in March 2006, appeared on Countdown in Dictionary Corner. In early 2006, he appeared as Richard Gere on ITV's Celebrity Stars in their Eyes, singing "Razzle Dazzle" from Chicago, the film version of the Broadway musical. In September 2006 he appeared on Channel Five's Trust Me - I'm A Holiday Rep, joining as a substitute for Samantha Rowley. In 2007, he began promoting Royal Butler wine, an "affordable luxury" brand then selling for £6 per bottle, supermarket chains have since stepped away from this product because of disappointing sales.
According to his autobiography, Burrell holds the following awards or recognitions:
- Verdienstmedaille, awarded Germany, 1978
- Silver Medal, awarded Sweden, 1983
- The Order of The Lion of Malawi Medal, 1985
- Royal Victorian Medal, 1997
- Paul Burrell official website archive
- "Paul Burrell". BBC Wales (BBC). Retrieved 8 March 2008.
- Moore, Charles (2 November 2002). "From below-stairs servant to Hollywood darling". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- Burrell, Paul (16 August 2007). "The Way We Were: Remembering Diana: Paul Burrell: Books". Chapters. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "Diana's mother expresses her fury at Burrell". Scotsman (UK). 4 September 2005.
- "MPs criticise Queen over Burrell case", The Guardian, November 2002
- Diana considered marrying surgeon, says Burrell, The Guardian
- "Diana affair over before crash" by Rosalind Ryan, The Guardian Online, 7 January 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
- "Princess Diana letter - 'Charles plans to kill me'" by Gordon Rayner, The Daily Telegraph Online, 20 December 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
- "Burrell faces perjury probe after refusing to return to Diana inquest, saying he was 'showing off' and drunk in video". Daily Mail (London). 7 March 2008.
- "Burrell refuses return to inquest". BBC News. 6 March 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Powell, Robyn (6 March 2008). "Paul Burrell refuses to return to Diana inquest". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Pierce, Andrew (6 March 2008). "Paul Burrell may face perjury investigation over Diana inquest". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- "The people's pimp: Paul Burrell is back in America where there's money to be made". Daily Mail (London). 19 February 2008.
- Moore, Charles. ".". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Emily Smithus editor (18 February 2008). "Diana Inquest". The Sun (London). Retrieved 24 September 2010.
- "Diana coroner demands videotape of Paul Burrell 'admitting he lied to inquest'". Daily Mail (London). 18 February 2008.
- "Paul Burrell: Did He Tell Whole Truth At Diana Inquest?". Sky. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
- "Diana's butler faces probe of testimony". CNN. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Richard Edwards (16 January 2008). "Paul Burrell criticised for copying Diana letters". The Telegraph.
- "Orders, Decorations and Medals - Medals by Country - Medals of Britain". Jean Paul le Blanc. Retrieved 24 August 2012.