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Queen warned butler of shadows

By Peter Fray
November 7 2002

London: The former royal butler Paul Burrell has revealed that the Queen warned him that his close relationship with Princess Diana had put him in danger from shadowy "powers".

Mr Burrell, 44, told a British tabloid about the secret three-hour meeting with the Queen that last week led to the collapse of his Old Bailey theft trial as he was about to give evidence.

Diana's former butler, whom she described as her "rock", told the Daily Mirror the Queen had looked at him "over her half-rimmed spectacles" and warned him to be careful.

"No one, Paul, has been as close to a member of my family as you have," Mr Burrell quoted her as saying. "There are powers at work in this country which we have no knowledge about."

Mr Burrell's trial on charges of stealing items belonging to the late princess ended after the Queen revealed he had sought her approval to put them in safekeeping. The meeting took place in November 1997, two months after the princess died.

After days of rivetting evidence about Diana's private life and the inner workings of the House of Windsor, the Queen's intervention in the case has sent Britain into a spasm of soul-searching about the monarch's role and what Mr Burrell planned to say in the dock.

Mr Burrell, a former footman for the Queen, said that as the case progressed he felt as if he "was being fed to the lions".

Asked why he had not told his lawyers about the meeting with the Queen, Mr Burrell said: "In the royal household, it is unthinkable to recount any conversation with Her Majesty. My barrister thought I was nuts, I told him, 'No. I'm just loyal'."

Mr Burrell's solicitor gained an injunction to prevent The Sun revealing details about his alleged disintegrating relationship with Diana.

Mr Burrell said the Queen had told him: "I tried to reach out to Diana so many times. I wrote many, many letters to her, Paul."


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