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Queen backs William in Burrell row

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Queen: Will support William if he decides to meet Burrell

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Queen Elizabeth II has let it be known she is standing by Prince William in the row about ex-butler Paul Burrell's book revealing secrets about Diana, Princess of Wales.

If her grandson decides to go ahead with a face-to-face meeting with the former royal butler, the queen will support William's decision, aides said Monday.

Responding to questions, Buckingham Palace said: "The queen's conversations with her family are a private matter. But the queen fully supports Prince William at this time."

The rare intervention of the queen came as Burrell's book, "A Royal Duty," went on sale Monday. (View from the bookstore)

Lawyers for the royal family were scrutinizing its 396 pages.

It is almost certain that no legal action will be taken against the former royal servant who, by quoting from private letters rather than reproducing them in full, has avoided any breach of copyright, the UK's Press Association reported.

Prince William, 21, is currently at university in St. Andrews, Scotland, and his 19-year-old brother, Prince Harry, is in Australia working on a cattle station before enrolling at Sandhurst military academy.

The princes launched a scathing attack on Burrell on Friday for the "cold and overt betrayal" of their late mother. Diana would have been mortified at his revelations, serialized in detail last week in the Daily Mirror newspaper, the brothers said. (Princes' anger)

The book looks at Diana's personal life and has stirred up further controversy over her death in a 1997 car crash after an excerpt from the book -- a letter written by Diana which foretold her own death 10 months before the event -- was printed last week in the Daily Mirror.

Responding to statement by William and Harry that he had betrayed Diana, Burrell said he would love to give the princes a "piece of his mind" and it was time for them to "grow up." (Burrell: Princes need to grow up)

He told the BBC in an interview being aired Monday night: "I felt immediately that those boys were being manipulated and massaged by the system, by the palace, by the gray men in suits, by those people who did exactly the same to their mother."

"We have to grow up and get on with it and the boys now are adults. They're not children anymore and their mother will be talked about," he said in the interview.

Burrell has been unrepentant over the book and his revelations about his former boss and has refused to apologize for writing it.

Burrell
Burrell has been heavily criticized by members of the British royal family

But in the BBC interview, Burrell said he never wanted to write his book.

"Just one telephone call would have stopped it, one. Is that too much too ask -- really? Having served the royal family for 21 years, is one telephone call too much? It's not.

"They do live in the modern age, don't they? We have telephones and mobile phones."

The book could be blamed on the ordeal the royal family and the establishment had put him through, Burrell said.

On Sunday, in an interview with the Sunday Times, Burrell accused royal courtiers of poisoning the brothers' "little minds."

He claimed the letters, allegedly to and from Diana and serialized in the Daily Mirror tabloid last week, were just the "tip of the iceberg."

More would come out, he said, if Diana's name continued to be besmirched. Describing himself as "the keeper of these secrets," Burrell told the newspaper: "I know where the boundary is and I do not cross that line."

On Friday, the Daily Mirror published an excerpt of Burrell's book in which he said Princess Diana had nine secret "gentleman friends" including a Hollywood star, a sports legend, a leading musician and a famous politician. (Full story)

The day before he said Diana never wanted a divorce from Prince Charles but said her relationship with him had been poisoned by "envy, jealousy and hatred" from his family and friends. (Full story)


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