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Diana's butler sells his story

Mirror editor Piers Morgan called Burrell's experience
Mirror editor Piers Morgan called Burrell's experience "an utterly compelling story"

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LONDON, England -- Former royal butler Paul Burrell has sold his story of his ordeal after being wrongly accused of stealing from Princess Diana to a British tabloid newspaper.

The Daily Mirror newspaper has paid "a substantial six-figure sum" for the rights to Burrell's thoughts and recollections, the UK Press Association reported on Monday.

Burrell, the former butler of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, was acquitted last Friday of stealing items belonging to his former employer after it emerged that he had told the Queen of his intention to retain some papers for safekeeping. (Full story)

Burrell said in a statement issued by the paper: "I have been offered more than 1 million for my story, but I am not interested in just making the most amount of money that I can.

"I believe that the Daily Mirror will let me tell the true story as it is.

"I hope people will read my interviews with the Mirror and understand what really happened to me," he said.

Mirror editor Piers Morgan said his paper had fended off more than 400 other media organisations to win the world exclusive, which will start in Wednesday's edition.

"I am delighted that we have won the most ferocious battle Fleet Street has fought this century for Mr Burrell's extraordinary story.

"Paul Burrell was Princess Diana's closest and most trusted confidant, her rock.

"Cruelly accused of betraying her, he was finally released from two years of private hell by the Queen in the most dramatic fashion imaginable.

"His private thoughts on this very public trial and on just why Diana trusted him so completely make this an utterly compelling story," Morgan told PA.

He told broadcaster Sky News that Burrell was being paid between 250,000 and 500,00 for the story.

Critics have asked why it took Queen Elizabeth so long to recall a conversation that cleared Burrell and caused the case against him to collapse.

Buckingham Palace said the monarch only recently remembered that Burrell told her shortly after Diana's death in 1997 he had taken some of the princess's belongings for safekeeping.

Prime Minister Tony Blair sought to defend the queen earlier on Monday, saying she acted properly when she intervened in the trial.

"There are often many, many allegations made, but I think that Buckingham Palace has answered these questions perfectly rightly and I do believe... that the queen herself has behaved entirely properly throughout," Blair told a news conference. (Full story)

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