Former Royal butler turned media celebrity Paul Burrell has angered many Scots by suggesting on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine Show that Scotland might not survive independence, as we only have "oil, and a monster in a lake". 


Paul Burrell is the 61-year-old former butler to Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana who continued to serve Diana after the couple divorced.

Burrell was the son of a lorry driver from Derbyshire who entered the service of the royal household at the age of 18, becoming a footman to the Queen.

He was fulfilling his ambition stated at the age of eight after he attended the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

He said: "I thought it was magical. I turned to my parents and said, 'One day, I'm going to work there'."

He did work at the Palace before he joined the retinue of Charles and Diana when they lived at Kensington Palace and Highgrove House. When Diana moved out of the latter into the former, Burrell went with her.

No one can deny his devotion to Diana – after all, he’s told us of it plenty of times, especially in his memoirs, including the claim that she considered him to be her "rock". When she died in 1997, Burrell, who had been awarded the Royal Victorian medal for his services, transformed himself into a media celebrity, always available for comment and gossip about the Princess and the royals generally.

Since then, he has published his best-selling autobiography A Royal Duty – it sold 3 million copies worldwide – and has done the rounds of the reality and celebrity-based television shows, appearing on everything from Countdown to I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, being runner-up to Joe Pasquale in the November-December 2004 series.

He has his own website, paulburrellrvm.com. It’s a lulu, emphasising how he acquired expertise that has allowed him to become a “taste arbiter” and “expert in food, wines, furnishings, flower arranging, etiquette and entertaining, especially in the English style.”


Like so many English media types, Burrell is singularly misinformed about Scottish matters, though it is not as if Burrell can claim complete ignorance of Scotland. He was often at Balmoral, and Diana, for example, had links to Scotland through her mother, the late Mrs Frances Shand Kydd, who lived on Seil island and once ran a shop in Oban where Diana occasionally served customers. Interestingly, Frances Shand Kydd came to dislike Burrell intensely and was prepared to give evidence against him at his 2002 trial for stealing items from Diana.


Indeed. Almost five years after the death of the Princess in Paris, Burrell was accused of removing items potentially worth millions that belonged to Diana, Charles and their son William from Kensington Palace.

Burrell was charged with theft but the case collapsed after it emerged during the trial that he had told the Queen in 1997 that he was taking material. Many observers at the time concluded that the royals had intervened to suppress details that were due to emerge in Burrell’s defence. His evasive testimony during the 2008 inquest into Diana’s death was enough to prompt the Coroner to accuse him of telling lies.

Burrell at the time and beforehand always denied being homosexual, marrying another royal servant, Maria Cosgrove, and having two children with her before getting divorced after 32 years to marry his boyfriend Graham Cooper.