Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2003

Full text: Burrell interview

Paul Burrell
Paul Burrell's book is released on Monday
Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell has appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today programme denying his book A Royal Duty is a betrayal of the princess's memory.

Here is the full text of his interview with presenter Sarah Montague.

Can you understand why it is that the Princess of Wales's sons felt 'betrayed'?

Well I think it's obvious that Prince William and Prince Harry wanted to make a statement because they had read the serialisation in the Daily Mirror.

What they have read in fact is only a small portion of the book.

I would have urged them to wait and read it in its entirety and read my words in context, because it is a very different story from that perspective and it brings into light a loving tribute to their mother.

I hoped that William and Harry knew me.

I hope that I'm still that person that looked after them when they were growing up in their formative years.

But surely it's precisely because they knew you and because of what you had said in the past, about never selling your story, that they did feel betrayed?

Yes, but you know I never thought I would write this book.

I never thought that I would have to sit down and clear misdemeanours that had been said before and correct untruths which had been said by other people.

So why haven't they attacked other people who have written lies and untruths about their mother?

You must have known this would hurt them?

No, if they read the whole story, it would not hurt them - it's a tribute to their mother.

But you've obviously got it wrong if the princes themselves are saying that you've abused your position and the book would mortify their mother if she were alive today? Are they not in a better position to know?

Of course, they are the princess's children and I would never ever assume a position closer than that.

I did witness certain events and I personally feel that it's appropriate to put the record straight
But William and Harry were away at school for much of the time that I served with their mother in her adult life.

We were two adults living in a very isolated situation and I was party to history.

I did witness certain events and I personally feel that it's appropriate to put certain things straight - put the record straight.

And to tell a historical account of actually what happened, because there have been too many things said in the past which are completely untrue.

They have pleaded with you to bring these revelations to an end.

I am very happy to go to Clarence House or wherever William and Harry want to go, sit with them face to face, explain to them why I've done this book.

Explain to them more about their mother's life - to tell them about their mother's life which they didn't witness, some of it, because they were away at school.

I'm very happy to do that and sit with them and justify my account.

How much more information do you have?

How much information do I have? That's a very difficult question to answer because a lot of that information in my head will never ever reach the public domain because, as I said to you, I know where the threshold is.

If you read my words, I have never discussed what happens inside a bedroom, whereas others have.

I have never discussed personal relationships of an intimate nature, which others have.

I know where the line is. I have only illustrated certain people in the Princess's domain because it's appropriate to illustrate a story, to tell why I did it.

The Mail on Sunday claims that you know what is on what has been called the 'rape tape', what Diana called her crown jewels [a cassette tape allegedly containing a claim by a former royal valet that he had been raped by another member of staff]. Do you know what's on that tape?

I am a party to that but that's between the princess and myself.

Would you ever provide the information that you know of the contents of that tape?

Can I make it quite clear I don't know where this tape is. I have no idea where this tape is. I told the police that during the course of my trial. It's out there somehow. But wherever it is, I don't know where it is.

But are you ever going to make known what you know?

It's not appropriate for me to discuss other people's misfortunes. That tape did contain privacies which should remain private.

So that's a no? You will not make anything that you about the contents of that tape public?

That's a no.

What you have already released is damaging to the Royal Family, isn't it?

Personally, I don't think so, no. Why should it be? Letters - a letter, you remember [was written to the princess by the Duke of Edinburgh] which said "I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind leaving you for Camilla".

Do you not think that's in the public interest?

But a lot of this stuff is very private stuff about a marriage that was falling apart.

And a lot of it is already in the public domain.

What purpose does it serve you publishing this all this now?

It's an accurate portrayal of a life which I witnessed as part of it.

This is part of my life; part of what I saw and heard. It doesn't come any more real than that.

I think the British public have a right to know.

I think they have a right to know about the letter which the princess wrote to me about the crash because I think it is of national importance.

It doesn't provide any real evidence, it just provides the thoughts of a particular person at that time. But it is important to put it in the public domain.

You don't think Diana was murdered do you?

I, personally - I don't have all the information to collate. You should be asking me why has it taken six years for us to have an inquest into the princess's death.

I think the British public should know and we should reach a final conclusion on that and put it to bed.

I think, you know, that letter would never have come out had I not written that book.

But so much has happened to me. It took a long time for me to decide to bring that to the public domain because first suffering the grief I suffered when the princess died.

It didn't seem of public importance six years ago, why is it suddenly now?

You have to put yourself in my shoes. You have to put yourself back there, and the grief and the horror of that accident in Paris and actually seeing things at first-hand.

Who could I give the letter [predicting a crash] to? The Royal Family who would archive it? The Spencers who would probably shred it? I couldn't give it to William and Harry because they were children
I came back, I was grieving. I saw the Queen and she warned me of dark forces.

Do you not think I was worried about the security and safety of myself and my family? Of course I was. Who could I give the letter to?

Should I give to the Royal Family who would archive it and it would never be known? Should I give to the Spencers who would probably shred it?

I couldn't give it to William and Harry because they were children and they were grieving the loss of their mother.

So the most appropriate and safe place was for me to keep it safe.

If you were so worried about yourself, are you saying you were also worried about the Princess of Wales?

Of course I was worried about her - we were both worried about her safety and security.

Of course she was being listened to, of course she was being followed - she wasn't paranoid, it was the truth
On one occasion we went up to her sitting room and rolled back the carpet, pulled up the floorboards and actually looked for devices.

She was being briefed by ex-MI5 officers who came into the palace to advise her on her security.

She changed her mobile phone regularly. We took down a mirror above her mantelpiece because we were told that a beam could be transmitted into the room to listen to a conversation in that room.

Of course she was being listened to, of course she was being followed. She wasn't paranoid - it was the truth.

An awful lot of stuff of hers was found in your house by the police. Did you take things from Kensington Palace after her death?

No. A lot of things were given to me - well all her things were given to me before the princess died. A lot of things were entrusted to me.

But I think the court case proved the fact that I was a repository for certain aspects of the princess's life - she gave me things to keep safe.

I gave those things back to Prince William and Prince Harry.

But why do you think she gave them to you?

Because a lot of the princess's life she was terribly lonely, she didn't know who she could trust, she was frightened about her own security - lots of aspects.

I was the person that was there 24/7. I was the person that was there most of the day. She had other friends - she trusted other friends too - I wasn't the only one.

Did you take anything from Kensington Palace after she died?

The princess gave me things throughout her lifetime. I had a room at Kensington Palace - a room in which I stored things.

So it's quite possible that she'd given something during her lifetime which I'd stored in my room which I removed later - that is possible.

Have you planned a meeting with the two princes?

I would very much like to see the two princes. They offered to see me and I said 'yes please' - I'm very happy to sit in front of them and explain the process of writing this book and why I did it.

And I would like to ask them a few questions too.

What would you like to ask them?

Well I think that's between me and the two princes.

But I think I would like to give them a piece of my mind and ask them why - why did they personally not help me when I needed help at the worst point in my life [the trial].

I tried desperately to contact them but there was no response.

They were young men able to make decisions.

A lot of people are going to say, just listening to you, think that this does sound like revenge on the Royal Family.

Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

The point of doing this book is to actually correct the myths and the untruths and the lies and the points which other people have tried to prove which are quite honestly untrue.

Tell us about what sounds like such a bizarre relationship with the Princess of Wales because you were clearly, at times, terribly close.

Well they tried to prove that I wasn't during my court case. Even the family came out and said that I wasn't close.

Hooray, are people beginning to believe now that I actually did have a unique relationship with the princess?

Were you in love with her?

Love is a very difficult world to even begin to go near. It's four letters which mean so much and different things to many different people.

I love Wrexham Football Club, I love my wife, I love my dog. I think that's part of me.

I defy any man not to have fallen in love with her slightly, having met her. She was engaging, charismatic and wonderful and I cared for her deeply.

You were certainly obsessed with her, weren't you?

That's a word in the English language which could mean passionate. Yes, I was passionate about what I did and how I did it. I would have done anything for her.

Rosa Monckton, who was going to stand as a character witness in your trial last year, has written in the Sunday Telegraph that you've now joined the rest of the vultures in picking over the bones of her existence.

Oh really? Well I'm sorry that she feels like that because Rosa's my friend.

And if Rosa can just think, just a little while, about many intimacies which we shared with the princess, she would understand I have not betrayed her or the princess.

But her concern is what you've done to the princes.

Rosa has written many accounts of the princess's life - I'm sure she must have searched her conscience too.

But ultimately what you're saying is going to hurt the princes, and ultimately what the princess was most concerned about was her sons. You must be aware of the damage you are doing to them?

Can I just remind you that both the Prince of Wales and the Princess of Wales, before the boys were very old, both went on national television and admitted in documentaries and have made contributions to books which are in the public domain, about their private lives which also were very hurtful to the young princes.

So is there another book?

Is there another book? Do you know, I never thought I would write this one.

I have no plans in this moment in time to write another book. But I don't know what the future holds, do I?
Six years ago, I thought my future was pretty straightforward and I never expected the rollercoaster.

So I can't say to you that I am not going to stand in the princess's corner, I'm not going to be there to say you're wrong - I can't say that.

I have no plans in this moment in time to write another book. But I don't know what the future holds, do I?

I didn't six years ago, and I don't now.



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