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Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 13:24 GMT
Burrell 'given safety warning by Queen'
Paul Burrell
Burrell has sold his story to the Mirror newspaper
Former Royal butler Paul Burrell has claimed the Queen warned him his closeness to Diana, Princess of Wales, could put his safety at risk.

He says the dramatic comments were made during the same three-hour meeting that, when eventually recalled by the Queen, triggered the collapse of his trial for theft last week.


No-one, Paul, has been as close to a member of my family as you have

What Paul Burrell says the Queen told him
In an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper, for which he was paid 300,000, he says she told him: "There are powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge."

Mr Burrell also claims that the Queen tried to build bridges with Diana before she died.

The interview in Wednesday's paper came after Mr Burrell won a High Court injunction against the Mirror's main rival, The Sun, stopping it from publishing extracts from legal statements he had made.

On Friday Mr Burrell, 44, was found not guilty of all three charges against him of stealing from Diana's estate, the Prince of Wales and Prince William.

The jury was formally discharged on Wednesday because the jurors had been absent when the judge found Mr Burrell not guilty.

The trial dramatically collapsed after it emerged he had told the Queen in a meeting two months after Diana's death that he was keeping some of the princess's possessions.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman would not comment on what was a "private meeting".

"There were only two people in the room and it is confidential," she said.

Queen's advice

In Mr Burrell's account of those pivotal discussions five years ago, the Queen revealed how she knew the extent of Paul's importance to Diana when she told him: "No-one, Paul, has been as close to a member of my family as you have."

Then, with the Queen looking him in the eye to make sure he knew she was being "deadly serious", she issued her dramatic warning about his safety.

The Queen
It was because of the meeting Mr Burrell walked free from court
"I had no idea who she was talking about," Mr Burrell says.

"There were many [people] she could have been referring to.

"But she was clearly warning me to be vigilant."

The crucial exchange concerning Diana's possessions involved Mr Burrell telling the Queen how he intended to "protect the princess's world and keep her secrets safe" to which she responded by "nodding her approval and smiling".


He has been treated poorly from the start

David Graham, Britain

Mr Burrell said he was only speaking publicly now because he was concerned that the Queen's reputation was being eroded by speculation over her last-minute involvement in the case.

But Ben Pimlott, biographer of the Queen, told BBC News: "There's a continuing mystery about why a conversation which was so important to his defence, when he was in such a predicament, was not revealed in detail to the police at an earlier stage."

Mr Pimlott added it was difficult to tell which "powers" the Queen had been referring to, if those were her exact words.

Mr Burrell also recounted to the Mirror how the Queen told him she tried to "reach out to Diana so many times", writing "many, many letters" to her.

He replied: "But the trouble was Your Majesty that you spoke in black and white. The princess spoke in colour."

Wednesday's front covers of the Sun and Daily Mirror
Wednesday's Sun and Daily Mirror both lead with the story
Mr Burrell also gives an explanation for every single item he was accused of stealing and discloses what he told police when he was arrested.

Mirror editor Piers Morgan said the interview was "a riveting read" and a selective account which omitted the "lurid details" of the meeting out of loyalty.

Mr Burrell's injunction against the Sun was obtained in the High Court on Tuesday evening.

Media lawyer Mark Stephens said it was "bizarre" that a matter of public interest was not allowed to be put in other newspapers.

The Sun, which lost out in the bidding war for Mr Burrell's story, is running a spoiler. The paper questions the state of his relationship with the Princess.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jenny Bond
"It's the nightmare that won't go away for the Royal Family"
Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan
"It's one of the scoops of the century"

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See also:

06 Nov 02 | UK
06 Nov 02 | Entertainment
04 Nov 02 | Politics
06 Nov 02 | UK
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