Front Page







World News in Audio

On Air


Talking Point


Low Graphics


Site Map

Wednesday, March 18, 1998 Published at 20:40 GMT


Diana's faithful servant speaks
image: [ Jennie Bond interviews Paul Burrell - in front of the public parks where Diana would roller-blade ]
Jennie Bond interviews Paul Burrell - in front of the public parks where Diana would roller-blade

BBC exclusive interview with Princess Diana's former butler
In an exclusive BBC interview, the former butler of Diana, Princess of Wales, has spoken about his friendship with the princess, and his new role as one of the managers of her Memorial Fund.

During the 10 years that Paul Burrell worked for the princess they developed a close friendship. She called him "her rock".

[ image: Paul Burrell says he will never recover from Diana's death]
Paul Burrell says he will never recover from Diana's death
He told Jennie Bond, the BBC Court Correspondent, how he used to accompany her on late-night visits to hospitals when she would visit sick and dying people - out of the limelight and away from the television cameras.

He also revealed that the princess often used to don a disguise and roller-blade in the public parks.

"It's amazing what a baseball cap can do ... she was gone before they even recognised her, gone before you knew it," he said.

BBC Court Correspondent Jennie Bond interviews Paul Burrell (4'50")
He said the princess would have been amazed at the public reaction to her death.

"She'd have been overwhelmed by the enormous tribute, the wonderful spontaneous reaction from the people. I don't think she'd believe it. It was so enormously moving," he said.

Continuing her memory

Mr Burrell was appointed as chief fund-raiser to the Diana Memorial Fund on Wednesday, and he is due to fly to Los Angeles for a fund-raising ball on Thursday morning.

But he sees his work primarily as a way of continuing to look after the princess.

"I can now look after the princess in a public way. I can look after her memory, and I can help steer this wonderful legacy - which has been given by the people of the world - and help it raise public awareness to the causes and the charities which the princess held dear," he said.

Mr Burrell said that he finds it comforting to be associated with the princess by way of the fund.

[ image: Mr Burrell remembers Diana as happy]
Mr Burrell remembers Diana as happy
"It is very difficult for me to let go," he said. "It's important for me. It also keeps me safe and protects me. It's a very strange thing when you lose the captain of your ship, your boss, and you suddenly find yourself without direction."

Mr Burrell has turned down lucrative job offers, including an offer of being a butler for Tom Cruise.

Instead, he has spent the last six months sorting out Diana's personal and private possessions.

He described the process as a "very strange, personal thing, that a lot of people must go through".

"It's like looking through a window into their world. But now it's finished, and we can go forward," he said.

Although he declined to answer any questions about Diana's relationship with Dodi Fayed, he said his enduring image of Diana is a happy one, of her smiling.

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


Link to BBC Homepage

  Relevant Stories

18 Mar 98 | UK
Diana's "rock" throughout the storms

17 Mar 98 | UK
Let Diana rest says Elton

10 Mar 98 | UK
Who's getting the Diana fund grants?

10 Mar 98 | UK
Diana fund - how the money will be spent

  Internet Links

The British Monarchy

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund

BBC's Diana Website

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online

UK Contents

Northern Ireland