Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell: The Queen probably knew I was gay
Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell has said the Queen probably realised he was gay, despite saying he should marry a woman.
He also said that Buckingham Palace was the first time he met gay people, as there were many working there.
The royal butler, who described himself as Diana’s “rock”, came out as gay last week.
He was speaking on daytime show This Morning for the first time, after he divorced from his wife of 32 years to marry a man.
He told hosts Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby: “I come from a northern background, a coal mining community, a two up two down with a tin bath, no bathroom, into Buckingham Palace.
“And there I was confronted with this luxury, but also diversity for the first time.
“I think I always knew that [I was attracted to men] but also I always wanted to be married.”
He also said that he believed the Queen probably knew he was gay.
Challenged that the Queen didn’t know him that well – because she asked him to marry a woman despite being gay – he replied: “I think she might have.
“The Queen is a very astute woman, and she knows her staff inside and out.”
The former royal staffer also says he hadn’t anticipated the story of his marrying a man coming out so soon.
He told the show: “I never expected this story to come out quite so quickly, so soon,” he said.
“My partner was doorstepped by a red top and said ‘we’ve got this story, we’re going to print it, what do you think about it?’ and he shut the door and didn’t know what to think.
“We thought we’d get into the driving seat. This is about us, it’s about our story, we’ve got to stand proud.
“It was going to come out anyway… so let’s stand together, strong.
“We were lucky we got away with it for so long. We wanted it to be on our terms, we wanted to get married, with the people we love around us, with my boys stood beside me, I wanted it to be a really proud day and then told the story….
“But of course we weren’t afforded that luxury and had to act quick.”
Burrell is set to marry Graham Cooper, a man he’s apparently been seeing for a decade.
For almost all his life he kept his sexuality secret.
The ex-butler’s spokesman confirmed the news last week, telling The Sun: “I can confirm their forthcoming marriage.”
Mr Burrell, 57, became famous after he wrote a tell-all book of his life with Princess Diana.
He went on to do TV shows all around the world, and appearances on reality TV shows I’m a Celebirty Get Me Out of Here and Celebrity Big Brother.
His family are said to be “delighted” he has found hapiness, and supportive of his decision to come out as gay.
The happy couple are due to tie the knot in a circus-themed wedding ceremony next month at a five-star venue.
The Sun source added: “They don’t want too many people there and have limited the guest list to close family and friends.
“But it’s going to be suitably lavish. No expense has been spared. Paul sees this as a new chapter in his life.
“They want to let their hair down and enjoy themselves. Guests have a rough idea of where it will take place.
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“But to increase the suspense Paul and Graham have kept the exact details of the venue quiet.”
Burrell hasn’t been immune to massive controversy, however.
In October 2002 he was accused of stealing items from the royal household in a globally reported trial.
However the Old Bailey trial collapsed at the last minute when the Queen personally intervened, remembering that Mr Burrell had told her he was safeguarding some of Princess Diana’s possessions.
2017 marks 20 years since Princess Diana passed away, with a special statue being commissioned to mark the occasion.