Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2003

Burrell accused of 'obsession'

Paul Burrell
Paul Burrell has been heavily criticised over his book
Former royal butler Paul Burrell has been described as "infatuated" and "treacherous" for publishing a book on Princess Diana.

Former royal spokesman, Dickie Arbiter said the book, called A Royal Duty, was a symptom of a continued and inappropriate "infatuation" with Diana.

Mr Burrell's entire demeanour to the princess was "wrong", he said.

"He completely disintegrated after she died and he had to be comforted by Diana's family... he was a wreck.

It's an obscene obsession that he has with Diana
Former royal spokesman Dickie Arbiter
"You do grieve when you lose a relative, I don't think you grieve that way when you lose an employer.

"And it is somewhat obscene.

"It's an obscene obsession that he has with Diana. And now we're seeing it all pouring out in a book it is all just wrong," he said.

He said Prince William would be "ill-advised" to meet Mr Burrell in an attempt to persuade him to halt any further revelations.

"Particularly as Burrell has now said that he'd like to give the princes a piece of his mind, and told them to grow up. I mean, that's sheer arrogance."

'Immune'

Nicholas Davies, who has written books about Princess Diana himself, told BBC Radio Five Live: "My feeling at the moment is it was a duty betrayed, absolutely, by Paul Burrell, and he knows it.

"He would not have dared or even thought about writing something like this if Diana was still alive.

"He was a servant, he did sign pieces of paper saying he would never reveal details of his life with Diana.

He would not have dared or even thought about writing something like this if Diana was still alive
Author Nicholas Davies
"After her death he said he would never sell his story. But he did."

But Christopher Morgan of the Sunday Times told BBC Radio 5 Live he believed the princes would not be too upset by the book.

They had been "dragged" into making a statement criticising it by aides of Prince Charles, he suspected.

"A year after she died the Archbishop of York said we should end the cult of Diana, and her pictures are still all across the front pages of the papers.

"When people talk about the boys' disturbance, they fail to realise they are now immune to newspaper coverage about their mother, because frankly it's nothing new," he said.

He added that an "endearing portrait" of Diana would probably be portrayed by Mr Burrell, so "there is no betrayal".

'Vulture'

Over the weekend, Diana's friends described Mr Burrell variously as a "vulture", "cynical" and "greedy".

Rosa Monckton, a friend who had meant to stand as a character witness at the aborted trial for theft against Mr Burrell, said: "How wrong I was.

This book is written by a man who promised never to betray her confidences; yet this he has inexcusably done
Friend Rosa Monckton in the Sunday Telegraph
"Paul, more than most, knew how hounded the Princess was in her life, and yet now he joins the rest of the vultures who had the task of looking after her, in picking over the bones of her existence in his book.

"This book is written by a man who promised never to betray her confidences; yet this he has inexcusably done," she wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.

Another friend, Vivienne Parry, said Prince William should put the former butler "back in his pantry".

The former trustee of the Diana Memorial Fund described Mr Burrell's book as a "cynical exploitation" that had been "in the making for a very long time".

"I think there has been no wrestling with his conscience, the only thing he has been wrestling with is which letter to draw from the capacious file marked 'P' for pension plan," she told the BBC's Breakfast With Frost programme.



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