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Friday, 8 November, 2002, 11:38 GMT
Earl disputes butler 'lies'
Earl Spencer and a carpet of flowers in memory of Diana at Althorp, Northamptonshire
Diana was buried on an island at her Althorp home
Earl Spencer has condemned former royal butler Paul Burrell for "yet more hurtful lies" about how his family treated his sister Diana, Princess of Wales.

In his third interview for the Mirror newspaper, Mr Burrell said the earl behaved "disrespectfully" at Diana's funeral.

He accused the earl of removing the Royal Standard from Diana's coffin before it was buried, replacing it with the Spencer flag and "depriving" her of her royal status.


With that act, her brother was depriving the princess of her proper status of which she was proud

Paul Burrell

In his first public statement on the matter, the earl disputes his sister's servant's version of events.

Mr Burrell claimed that after swapping the flags in front of the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry at Althorp House, the Earl announced: "She is a Spencer now."

In a statement released on Friday, the earl said the flag had been removed in accordance with the princess's wishes.

"The Queen's standard was removed as part of the ceremony by her own officer in a dignified and pre-agreed manner," he said.

"Mr Burrell's allegations are yet more hurtful lies."

Mr Burrell told the newspaper "it was not what Diana would have wanted".

"With that act, her brother was depriving the princess of her proper status of which she was proud."

Mobile 'rang and rang'

"It seemed it had more to do with his Spencer v Windsor war than doing what Diana would have wanted.

"After his anti-monarchy speech from the pulpit at Westminster Abbey, this was the Earl's final insult at the worst of times. It was inappropriate and disrespectful."

Mr Burrell, 44, also told of the moment he heard that Diana had been involved in a car accident.

Paul Burrell
Mr Burrell talked of the night of Diana's death
He called her mobile, adding: "I knew the princess never left her mobile anywhere.

"I was convinced about getting a reply. But it rang and rang and rang."

In his second interview with the paper, Mr Burrell had alleged the family had abandoned Diana during her life, only to claim her when she died.

The former butler singled out the princess's mother and her siblings for criticism, accusing Earl Spencer of being "hypocritical" at her funeral.

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

The trial dramatically collapsed after it emerged he had told the Queen in a meeting two months after Diana's death in 1997 that he was keeping some of the princess's possessions.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ken Wharfe, ex bodyguard to the Princess of Wales
"You were a rock one week and a mess the next"

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