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



UK

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.
 





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  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?

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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.
 
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