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Queen 'warned' Burrell over Diana

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What the butler saw: The revelations cover 11 pages of the Daily Mirror

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LONDON, England -- Former royal butler Paul Burrell says Britain's Queen Elizabeth II warned him his close relationship with Princess Diana could put him in danger.

In his first major interview since being acquitted of stealing some of Diana's personal belongings, Burrell said the queen told him: "No-one, Paul, has been as close to a member of my family as you have."

And he said she warned: "There are powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge."

It was the queen's intervention that forced the collapse of the theft trial last week, when she recalled that Burrell had told her he was looking after some of Diana's belongings.

In his account of the three-hour meeting at Buckingham Palace, Burrell said: "I told Her Majesty that I intended to protect the Princess's world and keep safe her secrets.

"The queen responded by nodding her approval and smiling."

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman would not comment on Burrell's claims.

"It was a private meeting. There were only two people in the room and it is confidential," the spokesman said.

Burrell also told the Daily Mirror newspaper that the queen and Diana wrote to each other right up until the princess's death.

"I tried reaching out to her so many times. I wrote many, many letters to her, Paul," he said the queen told him.

He replied that he had seen the letters and added: "You spoke in black and white. The princess spoke in colour."

Burrell also gave the newspaper an explanation for every single item that had been taken from his Cheshire home in a police swoop.

He turned down scores of offers to sell his story - claiming that he rejected sums of up to a million pounds.

Instead he agreed a deal with the Daily Mirror -- worth a reported 300,000.

Details of Diana's lovers

Burrell has been granted an interim injunction against The Sun newspaper, preventing it from reporting any further details contained in police statements he made during the course of his prosecution.

On Tuesday, the newspaper reported some details of a 39-page statement they said Burrell gave police about his life.

It told how he smuggled Diana's lovers into Kensington Palace in his car boot, and that the princess even wanted to marry one of them -- heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.

It also disclosed that Burrell told police that he and the princess would drive around Paddington station and she would give money to prostitutes.

Mr Justice Eady, at the High Court, also ordered that no material should be published to create the impression that Burrell had disclosed the information in his statement to the media. The Sun vowed to fight the order.

Meanwhile, the jury in the Burrell trial was formally discharged on Wednesday following the sensational collapse of the case at the Old Bailey.

After the queen's intervention, judge Mrs Justice Rafferty discharged the jury in its absence and Burrell was cleared of three charges of stealing 310 items from Diana, Princess of Wales, the Prince of Wales and Prince William.

On Wednesday, Mrs Justice Rafferty brought the jury of seven men and five women back to the Old Bailey to discharge them formally.



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