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Paul Burrell
Born (1958-06-06) 6 June 1958 (age 65)
Grassmoor, Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom
Occupation(s)Butler to the British Royal Household
Media personality
Maria Cosgrove
(m. 1983; div. 2016)
Graham Cooper
(m. 2017)

Paul Burrell RVM (born 6 June 1958)[2][3] is a former servant of the British Royal Household and latterly butler to Diana, Princess of Wales.

Background and Royal Household career

Burrell was born and raised in Grassmoor, Derbyshire, a coal-mining village.[4] His parents were Graham Burrell and Beryl Burrell, née Kirk.[5][6] His father was a lorry driver and it was initially assumed he would go to work in the local colliery, but he had decided at the age of eight that he wanted to work at Buckingham Palace. This was after a trip to London, in which he witnessed the Changing of the Guard.[7] He attended William Rhodes Secondary School in Chesterfield before entering High Peak College in Buxton, where he studied hotel management.[7]

Burrell entered Royal Service at age 18 as a Buckingham Palace footman, becoming the Queen Elizabeth II's personal footman a year later. He was nicknamed "Small Paul", to distinguish him from a taller footman, Paul Whybrew, who was known as "Tall Paul".[7][4]

In 1987, Burrell joined the household of Charles and Diana at Highgrove House, Gloucestershire, acting as butler to the princess until her death in August 1997.[7][4] Burrell said that Diana, Princess of Wales, had described him as "the only man she ever trusted".[8] Books produced by Burrell state that Diana was very fond of him, and that she would describe him as her "rock" for his support during trying times, but Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, detested him and believed that he was "just another hanger-on grasping at Diana's celebrity".[9]

In 2001, Burrell opened a florist's in Farndon, Cheshire.[10]

Events since the death of Diana

Royal Household and inquest related

Burrell has been routinely mentioned in relation to Diana. At times the coverage has been adverse, for example in a 2002 case where he was charged with theft related to Diana's possessions. The trial collapsed after evidence was given that the Queen had spoken with him regarding disputed events and a public-interest immunity (PII) certificate was presented by the Crown Prosecution Service.[11][12]

In January 2008 Burrell appeared as a witness at the inquest into the death of Diana. Burrell said he had approached a Catholic priest about a private marriage between Diana and the heart surgeon Hasnat Khan,[13] and denied rumours that Diana was about to announce her engagement to Dodi Fayed.[13] He was also questioned on a letter to him from Diana in October 1996, in which she said her husband was planning to have her killed to make the path clear for him to marry Camilla Parker Bowles.[14][15] The coroner dismissed notions of a "secret" that Burrell knew about Diana that he swore he "would never reveal," as detailed at the end of his book, A Royal Duty.[13]

Other matters were discussed in relation to the case, many alleged and not proven, including allegations of perjury at the coroner's court,[16][17][18] and allegations about his personal life.[19]

On 18 February 2008, The Sun newspaper reported that Burrell had admitted, on tape, that he had not told "the whole truth" during his appearance at the Diana inquest; he also said he had thrown in a "few red herrings". Some reports suggested that Burrell could be charged with perjury.[20] The Sun said it would hand the tape to the court on 19 February 2008.[21]

Burrell was criticised for copying Diana's letters and his integrity was called into question. The coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, said: "In the end, there is an important issue as to the credibility of the witness."[22]


In 2003, Burrell released a memoir, A Royal Duty, which follows his career as a member of the Royal staff. It deals with his time as butler to the Prince and Princess of Wales at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, his move to Diana's staff at Kensington Palace after her divorce from Prince Charles, and the dismissal of the theft charges against Burrell.[4] The book was sold internationally and was updated in a paperback edition in 2004. Its publication led to a rift with Buckingham Palace. Princes William and Harry accused Burrell of betraying their mother's confidences. In a joint statement before publication, they called the book "a cold and overt betrayal."[23]

Media career

Burrell has appeared multiple times on the reality programme I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, first on the fourth series in November 2004, placing second after 18 Days on the show. In 2018, he participated in the fourth season of the Australian version, as an intruder on Day 17 of the show. He placed 9th, being evicted on Day 37. In 2023, he appeared in I'm a Celebrity... South Africa, a special All-Star edition of I'm a Celebrity with other former notable contestants.[24]

He also appeared as a judge and trainer on Australian Princess in 2005, and in March 2006 appeared on Countdown in Dictionary Corner.

In early 2006, he appeared as Richard Gere on ITV's Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, singing "Razzle Dazzle" from Chicago, the film version of the Broadway musical. A further TV appearance in September 2006 was followed by another in 2015.

In February 2017, Burrell and his house in Peckforton appeared in an episode of ITV's UK reality TV series Through the Keyhole with Keith Lemon.[25] In August 2017, he appeared in Series 2 of the Channel 5 UK reality TV series In Therapy. In November 2017, a television documentary, Diana: The Royal Truth, for which Burrell was the primary source, was released in the UK.[26]

Personal life

Burrell was married to Maria Cosgrove. They met while working in Buckingham Palace and have two sons.[4]

In 2017, a divorced Burrell announced he was marrying his male partner, Graham Cooper,[27] a corporate lawyer he met ten years prior.[28] This occurred on 2 April 2017 in Bowness-on-Windermere.

In July 2019, Burrell sold his florist shop as a going concern[29] and retired to live with his husband in their 19th-century mock-Tudor house in Peckforton, Cheshire.[30]

Burrell is a fan of Wrexham Football Club[31] and St Helens Rugby Football Club.[32] His pastimes include travelling and painting churchyard scenes.[33]

In January 2023, Burrell announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2022 and was receiving treatment.[34] On 16 November 2023, during an appearance on the ITV British breakfast television programme Lorraine, he announced that he had been given the "all clear" regarding his cancer but would need further follow up and medical care.[35]


He was awarded the Royal Victorian Medal in November 1997 for services to the Royal Family.[3] He also received the Queen Elizabeth II Version of the Royal Household Long and Faithful Service Medal for 20 years service to the Royal Family.


  • Entertaining with Style (1999)
  • In the Royal Manner: Butler to Diana (1999)
  • A Royal Duty (2003)
  • The Way We Were: Remembering Diana (2007)


  1. ^ 'No more hiding my unbridled happiness': Paul Burrell 'weeps with joy' as he marries boyfriend – The Telegraph
  2. ^ Burrell, Paul. "About". Paul Burrell Official Site. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b Paul Burrell official website archive
  4. ^ a b c d e Burrell, Paul (2003). A Royal Duty. G.P. Putnam's Sons. ISBN 9780399151729.
  5. ^ GRO Births: JUN 1958 3a 205 CHESTERFIELD
  6. ^ GRO Marriages: MAR 1957 3a 383 CHESTERFIELD. Graham Burrell = Beryl Kirk
  7. ^ a b c d Moore, Charles (2 November 2002). "From below-stairs servant to Hollywood darling". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  8. ^ Burrell, Paul (16 August 2007). "The Way We Were: Remembering Diana: Paul Burrell: Books". Chapters. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Diana's mother expresses her fury at Burrell". Scotsman. UK. 4 September 2005.
  10. ^ Carmella de Lucia (13 October 2011). "Former royal butler Paul Burrell celebrates 10th anniversary of flower shop in Farndon". Northampton Chronicle and Echo. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  11. ^ "MPs criticise Queen over Burrell case", The Guardian, November 2002
  12. ^ "Queen's evidence clears Diana butler". The Guardian. 1 November 2002. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  13. ^ a b c Diana considered marrying surgeon, says Burrell, The Guardian
  14. ^ "Diana affair over before crash" by Rosalind Ryan, The Guardian Online, 7 January 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
  15. ^ "Princess Diana letter – 'Charles plans to kill me'" by Gordon Rayner, The Daily Telegraph Online, 20 December 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
  16. ^ "Burrell refuses return to inquest". BBC News. 6 March 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  17. ^ Powell, Robyn (6 March 2008). "Paul Burrell refuses to return to Diana inquest". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 9 March 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  18. ^ Pierce, Andrew (6 March 2008). "Paul Burrell may face perjury investigation over Diana inquest". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  19. ^ Davies, Caroline (11 November 2002). "Burrell tried to seduce me, claims Barrymore". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  20. ^ "Paul Burrell: Did He Tell Whole Truth At Diana Inquest?". Sky. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  21. ^ "Diana's butler faces probe of testimony". CNN. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  22. ^ Richard Edwards (16 January 2008). "Paul Burrell criticised for copying Diana letters". The Telegraph.
  23. ^ Davies, Caroline (24 October 2003). "'A cold and overt betrayal'". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  24. ^ "I'm A Celebrity Unveils Line-Up For Upcoming All Stars Series In South Africa". HuffPost UK. 26 March 2023. Retrieved 26 March 2023.
  25. ^ Gibb, Jessica (15 February 2017). "Paul Burrell reveals the VERY polite way the Queen eats a banana". mirror. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  26. ^ "Diana: The Royal Truth". IMDb. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  27. ^ "Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell to marry his boyfriend after divorcing his wife last year". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  28. ^ Mulvaney, Amy (7 March 2017). "Princess Diana's butler Paul Burrell reveals he's marrying his lawyer boyfriend". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  29. ^ Holmes, David (5 February 2019). "Paul Burrell puts his Farndon shop up for sale as he retires". chesterchronicle. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  30. ^ Midgley, Dominic (8 March 2017). "Princess Diana: Keeper of her butler Paul Burrell's secrets". Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  31. ^ "The Leader - 'I'm a Celebrity' star and former Royal butler Paul Burrell back in Wrexham". Archived from the original on 11 March 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  32. ^ "Paul Burrell". BBC Wales. BBC. Archived from the original on 2 December 2002. Retrieved 8 March 2008.
  33. ^ "How this Bolton couple got two ex-Prime Ministers and Princess Diana's butler to be part of their wedding day celebrations". The Bolton News. 2 September 2019. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  34. ^ Muir, Ellie (30 January 2023). "Former royal butler Paul Burrell discloses 'life changing' cancer diagnosis". The Independent. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  35. ^ Owen, Cathy (16 November 2023). "Former royal butler Paul Burrell gives cancer battle update". Wales Online. Retrieved 17 November 2023.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 April 2024, at 21:56
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