For decades, Paul Burrell served one of the most high-profile families in the world, the British royal family. Serving as the personal butler for Princess Diana, Burrell learned more than one royal secret. Now, he’s turned his attention to her son, Harry, and his wife, Meghan.
In a series of interviews, the former royal butler gets very candid, confessing what he thinks about Duke Harry’s marriage to Duchess Meghan. Curious? Well, keep reading to find out Burrell’s inner thoughts on the matter.
It Started With A Field Trip
As a young student, Paul Burrell visited Buckingham Palace on a field trip. It was then that the soon-to-be butler formed a deep interest in the British royal family. Little did he know that his interest was going to lead him directly through the door of the palace, as the footman to Queen Elizabeth II.
Of course, it took some time for Burrell to move up the ranks in the palace. But once he did, he became a household name.
Diana’s Personal Butler
Interestingly, it wasn’t Paul Burrell’s position as the footman to Queen Elizabeth II that made him a popular name. It was actually his second position in the royal household, as the personal butler to Princess Diana.
For a decade, Burrell was one of the Princess’ most loyal guards, making him very close with his boss. Burrell has even gone on record saying he’s “the only man [that Diana] ever trusted.”
Tabloids Love Burrell
Since leaving the royal household, Paul Burrell has become somewhat of a questionable figure, being featured in more than one tabloid. In 2001, for example, his home in the English county of Cheshire was overcome by police accusing him of theft.
Namely, Burrell was being accused of stealing artifacts from the late Princess Diana and her two sons, William and Harry. Ironically, it was the Queen herself who came to the former butler’s rescue from the law.
He Duplicated Letters
As it turned out, the Queen had asked Paul Burrell to store 310 items at his residence. Her remark was undisputed, and the charges against the former royal butler were dropped. But that wasn’t the last time Burrell had a run-in with law enforcement.
In 2008, an investigation went underway regarding letters penned by Princess Diana and others. Burrell was being questioned about duplicating the correspondence. He didn’t deny the fact, saying the letters were of “historical importance.”
Burrell Threw The World A Curveball In 2016
The legal aspects were only the start to Paul Burrell’s time in the limelight, though. In 2016, it was revealed that Burrell and his wife of 32 years were separating. Later that year, it was announced that Burrell and his male partner, Graham Cooper, were walking down the aisle.
Of course, the former butler walking down the aisle with a male partner stirred more than one news source, and the interviews started to flood in.
Princess Diana “Knew”
During an interview with OK! magazine, Paul Burrell discussed his relationship with Princess Diana, namely if he told her about his partner preference. Apparently, he did not.
“Diana and I never discussed my sexuality at length, but it was a known thing between us,” Burrell said, adding, “Let’s face it: I did great flower arrangements, chose her outfits, and gave her advice. All the clues were there, and she was a clever lady.”
Books, Television Shows, And The Spotlight
It’s safe to say Burrell doesn’t entirely hate the spotlight, though. In the time since he’s left the royal household, the former butler has penned several books illustrating his time working at Buckingham and for the royal family, particularly as Diana’s right-hand man.
And that’s not it. Burrell has also appeared on more than one television program, including I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and Big Brother. He was even a judge on Australian Princess.
2018 Was The Year Of Lorraine
The books, television appearances, and judge positions were nothing compared to the position that awaited Paul Burrell in 2018. That year, Burrell was offered a position as a royal correspondent on the British talk show Lorraine.
The coveted position was monumental in the days leading up to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Many even speculate that Burrell was offered the position solely because of his previous ties to the groom’s late mother.
Burrell Was Candid In 2019
Even after the 2018 royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Paul Burrell wasn’t slowing down his opinion of the couple. In 2019, he got very candid about Duchess Meghan and her appointment as a member of the royal household.
In the documentary Kate v Meghan: Princesses at War?, Burrell calls Duchess Meghan a “strong and independent woman.” Yet, he wasn’t sure how her transition into such a luxurious lifestyle was going to go. She came from fairly humble beginnings, after all.
Burrell’s Main Question: How Is Meghan Going To Cope?
During an interview in the documentary Kate v Meghan: Princesses at War?, the former butler got very candid about Duchess Meghan, discussing her transition into the royal household.
In the documentary, he said, “Meghan has married into the most traditional family in the country: the royal family. How is she going to cope? Princess Diana was brought up in a house that was as big as Buckingham Palace, and even she was lost.”
Conforming To Royal Protocols
One of the main aspects of Duchess Meghan’s transition into the royal family the former butler touched on was her willingness to conform to royal protocol. And the trouble she would be in if she didn’t.
During the documentary, Burrell said, “Buckingham Palace is a minefield for any person going in there for the first time. People set traps, [and] they weren’t very kind to this young girl coming into this world. Who would want to be part of that family?”
Burrell Gave Two Pieces Of Advice
Besides talking about Duchess Meghan’s transition from a Hollywood TV star to a member of the royal family, Princess Diana’s former butler did have two sound pieces of advice for the American royal.
First, he advised the Duchess to get very close to the royal household’s senior-most member, her husband’s grandmother, the Queen. Burrell’s second piece of advice was just as short and sweet: he advised Duchess Meghan to stay close to her husband.
Burrell’s Comment On The Duke And Duchess’ Documentary
Burrell wasn’t done commentating on the royals quite yet, though. After tuning in to Harry and Meghan: An African Journey in 2019, the former butler was invited to speak on Good Morning Britain to discuss some of the more interesting topics brought up by the Duke.
In the documentary, the Duke of Sussex discussed his small family, speaking of his overprotective nature towards them and the values that his mother, Princess Diana, taught him.
Prince Harry Doesn’t Want To Repeat The Past
In the documentary, Harry and Meghan: An African Journey, Prince Harry said, “My mom clearly taught me a certain set of values of which I will always try and uphold – despite the role and the job that sometimes that entails if you know what I mean.”
“Everything that [Diana] went through, and what happened to her is incredibly raw every single day. And that’s not me being paranoid; that’s just me not wanting a repeat of the past.” Needless to say, Burrell had a few things to say to that.
Burrell Thinks The Duke Blames The Media For His Mother
After watching the documentary and being invited to talk on Good Morning Britain, Burrell had more than one thing to say. During the interview, the former butler discussed the Duke, saying, “I knew [Harry], he was devastated, and to walk behind his mother’s coffin in front of the world was just dreadful.”
“And that’s had an amazing impact on him. He does feel that the media hounded [Diana] to her death.” And this wasn’t the last time he was invited to speak on the show.
Back On The Show, Burrell Spoke Of The Royal Departure
With his bold statements, it should come as a little surprise to learn that Burrell returned to Good Morning Britain to discuss the Duke and Duchess’ wish to remove themselves from the royal family, relinquishing their duties as senior royals.
It was too good a chance for the former butler to once again draw parallels between the American royal and his former boss, the late Princess Diana. So, he went back on the show, discussing what he felt of the couple’s choice.
Princess Diana Would Have Approved
Interestingly, Burrell believes Princess Diana would have given her son and his wife her absolute blessing, no matter how controversial. During the talk show, Burrell said, “As I’ve seen this unfold in America, I’ve been thinking of [Diana].”
“She would have given the boys advice and said to them, ‘Marry for love,’ which they have, ‘Be respectful and kind to your wife,’ which they both have, but [also] ‘Be happy.’” But that wasn’t all.
Marrying A Royal Means Marrying Them All
On the talk show, Barrell continued to draw parallels between Princess Diana and Duchess Meghan, discussing the royal environment and how marrying into the family literally means marrying the family.
Barrell said, “Diana wasn’t [happy], and clearly Meghan and Harry aren’t [either] in the environment they’re in – being stifled by the royal household. Diana found that impossible, marrying the whole family.” Astonishingly, Meghan and Harry aren’t the first to want to escape from palace life.
Meghan And Harry Aren’t The First
According to the former royal butler, Princess Diana had plans to escape England and move to Malibu, California. During his interview with Good Morning Britain, Burrell said, “She [Diana] had the plans for that on her sitting room floor to buy a home in Malibu when she went away to the Mediterranean.
“She was going to buy that property, so is it any surprise Harry is following his wife’s dreams and [in] his mom’s footsteps?”
Burrell Felt Bad for Two Members Of The Family
During his interview on Good Morning Britain, Burrell did express sympathy for two specific members of the royal family, the Queen and Prince William. It couldn’t have been easy allowing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to remove themselves from their royal responsibilities.
Regarding the Queen, Burrell said, “I feel very sorry for the Queen, of course…Our monarch has suffered greatly over the years and seen a lot happen to her family, and she’s moved with the times.”
Something Can Be Said About Their Work Ethic
As for Prince William, Barrell expressed how he’s sad to see the bond between the two royal brothers wearing thin. During his interview, Burrell said, “I do feel sorry for William and Harry not having that bond which they once had.”
“Obviously, when their mother died, they were cemented together and inseparable. I feel sorry for that, and their mother would be sad, too.” That being said, the former butler can’t fault the Duke and Duchess’ work ethic and how they’ve composed themselves during their royal split.
Meghan Married The Whole Royal Family In 2018
During his chat on Good Morning Britain with host Piers Morgan, Paul Burrell openly expressed what he thought about the Duchess of Sussex’s work ethic. In the segment, the former butler explained that fantasizing about life in the royal household is a world different than actually living there.
He said, ” You don’t just marry one person; you marry the whole family. [Meghan] had no idea what she was getting herself into; nobody can.”
Burrell Believes Diana Would Want Her Sons To Be Happy
For Burrell, he believes Princess Diana would have given the Duke and Duchess her blessing to move away from their royal obligations. More so than that, Burrell believes more than anything Princess Diana would want her sons happy.
During an interview with Cheshire Live, Burrell said, “Princess Diana would have wanted her sons to be happy and would have supported them unconditionally. [With Harry] being sixth in line to the throne, it is unlikely that he will become king. Why not let [he and Meghan] have a happy life?”
Princess Diana And Duchess Meghan Are Similar
Obviously, Princess Diana’s former butler is no stranger getting candid about his thoughts on the royal family and their marriages. And during a 2020 interview with Closer, he did just that, discussing his thoughts on the Duke’s marriage to the Duchess.
During the interview, Burrell said, “Harry went for and married Meghan because she’s like Diana. Both [are] women who would always stand up for what they believe in and wouldn’t be pushovers.”
Thie Main Difference Is With The Media
Of course, where there are similarities, there are also differences. And for Burrell, there are two main differences between Princess Diana and Duchess Meghan. During an interview with Closer, the former butler revealed his thoughts, saying, “I think the main difference between them is that Meghan has a game plan, whereas Diana was young and naïve.”
He also said that while both royals used the media to some degree, Duchess Meghan uses it for a very different reason than the late princess.
Having Your Voice Heard Vs. A Career
Where Princess Diana used to media as a way for her voice to be heard, Burrell believes Duchess Meghan uses it to further her career. During his interview with Closer, the former royal butler said, “Diana did the book with Andrew Morton and courted the press over the years because she didn’t have a voice.”
“…she felt the people of the country had a right to know what had gone on behind closed doors. You could say Meghan does too – but I think her courting of the press is more for her career.”
Acting In The Future?
Candid as ever, Burrell wholeheartedly believes Duchess Meghan is far more at ease in front of the camera and media than Princess Diana ever was. He even seems to think the public will soon see the former actress back on the red carpet in the future.
During an interview, Burrell said, “In years to come, we’ll see [Meghan] on red carpets, with A-list friends [and] in films, perhaps. Diana wasn’t like that; she wasn’t interested in self-promotion.”
Royalty And Celebrity Aren’t The Same Things
It’s Duchess Meghan’s particular “relationship” with the media and press that Burrell believes to be cause for concern. They’re royals, not celebrities, something he made very clear in a 2019 piece he wrote for The Sun.
In the expose, Burrell stated, “The lines are getting blurred between celebrity and royal. There is a clear line between the two, and Meghan doesn’t know the difference. The Queen has always said, ‘We are not celebrities. To be royal is something very different.’”
Being Royal Means Giving Up A Lot
Of course, Duchess Meghan doesn’t totally believe she’s sticking to the limelight. But Burrell has other thoughts on the matter. In the piece the former butler wrote for The Sun, he said, “[Meghan] may say she doesn’t have to toe the line, but she has a royal title now, and you have to give up a lot to be a member of the royal family.”
“I think we all have to wait with bated breath and watch the way this one is going to progress. It is certainly a fiery, tempestuous comet streaking through the royal family.”
Burrell Believes The Duke And Duchess Are A Team
If there is one thing Burrell is certain of, though, it’s that Duchess Meghan and Duke Harry are partners in their relationship, unlike the news outlets alluding to the Duchess pulling all of the strings in their relationship.
While speaking with OK! magazine, Burrell said, “Meghan’s an independent woman who has her own mind. It may look as if she’s manipulating Harry, but she’s not! I have no doubt they discuss everything…”
Susana Afrakoma is a Qualified Producer and a Senior Consultant at Herbalife Nutrition, and has also worked for companies including Amazon, Avon and Mary Kay. She enjoys the company of her 3 handsome boys. Shes on the journey of becoming a Philanthropist and an Entrepreneur.