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Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 19:09 GMT 20:09 UK
Diana's 'rift' with mother
Mrs Shand Kydd at Diana's funeral
Mrs Shand Kydd, left, at her daughter Diana's funeral
Princess Diana had not spoken to her mother for the last four months of her life, it has emerged.

Frances Shand Kydd spoke of her estrangement from the princess at the Old Bailey theft trial of former royal butler Paul Burrell.

Giving evidence for the first time at the trial, Mrs Shand Kydd also said the former butler had misinterpreted his role in Diana's life.

Mr Burrell denies stealing 310 items from the princess, Prince Charles and Prince William.

He claims some were given to him by Diana because she disliked them.

Paul Burrell
Paul Burrell worked for Diana up to her death

Mr Burrell has often told how the princess called him "my rock" but Mrs Shand Kydd said: "It is a term which she used for many people.

"She called me her rock and staff."

Details of the princess's rift with her mother were not disclosed in court.

But Lord Carlile QC, defending Mr Burrell, suggested it "arose as a result of an argument that you and she had had about her private life and the company she was keeping".


She was a single woman and perfectly entitled if she wished to have relations with whosoever she wished

Lord Carlile QC
Mrs Shand Kydd replied firmly: "No."

At the time of her death, and the months leading up to it, the princess was having a relationship with Dodi Fayed, the son of Harrods owner Mohamed al Fayed.

Lord Carlile: "She was a single woman and perfectly entitled if she wished to have relations with whosoever she wished."

"Yes," Mrs Shand Kydd replied.

Lord Carlile said: "But the profound nature of that last quarrel was because you did not approve of some of the people with which she had personal relations?"

"Incorrect", Mrs Shand Kydd told the court.

Return to sender

The court heard that Mrs Shand Kydd had repeatedly written to her daughter but the letters were returned unopened.

When she was asked whose handwriting was on the envelopes, she replied: "Hers."

Mrs Shand Kydd said her relationship with her daughter could be tempestuous at times.

And she admitted she had had rifts with other members of her family.

In the years before, when Mrs Shand Kydd had visited Kensington Palace many times, she had got to know Mr Burrell and his wife Maria.

Father-of-two Mr Burrell, 44, from Farndon, Cheshire, denies stealing hundreds of personal items from the Princess's estate and property belonging to Prince Charles and Prince William.

Mrs Shand Kydd insisted items found at Mr Burrell's home should have been at the Spencer family seat, Althorp.

Asked by prosecutor William Boyce QC where personal photographs of the princess and her sons should be, she replied: "In her family house under lock and key - they were totally private and personal."

On Thursday, the court also heard from Diana's sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale who said she had met Mr Burrell many times after the Princess died as they sorted through her apartment at Kensington Palace.

She said she had asked him if he wanted anything as a memento of the princess but "he said he didn't because his memories were in his heart and that's all he needed".

The trial was adjourned until Friday.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nicholas Witchell at the Old Bailey
"Frances Shand Kydd said Burrell had misinterpreted his role as Diana's 'rock'"

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17 Oct 02 | England
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