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Paul Burrell discusses sexuality and his friendship with Princess Diana on This Morning

paul burrell this morning
Gemma Strong
Online Digital News Director
March 13, 2017
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Paul Burrell has given his first TV interview since revealing he is gay. The former royal butler appeared on This Morning on Monday to talk to hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby about his sexuality, and his upcoming wedding to Graham Cooper. He began by admitting that he wasn’t ready for the story to break. "I feel like I've been run over by a bus," he said. "I never expected this story to come out quite so quickly, so soon. 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, and we've got to stand proud. It was going to come out anyway… so let's stand together, strong."

paul burrell this morning2© Photo: Rex

Paul Burrell appeared on This Morning on Monday to talk about his upcoming wedding

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Paul was previously married for 32 years to wife Maria, with whom he has two grown-up sons. The couple divorced last year although they had been apart for some time. Paul added, "I was separated from Maria [when he started dating Graham Cooper] and I'd met Coop a few years ago… and he just faded away into the background. We were lucky we got away with it for so long. We [just] 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."

Paul was then asked if he’d always been attracted to men. He replied: "I think I always knew that, but I wanted to be married and wanted a family too… and the Queen said to me one day, 'Have you ever thought about getting married Paul?' and I said 'Well yes I have Your Majesty', and she said, 'Well it's the foundation of life you know, and then when you have children you'll realise how wonderful it is', and I think all the people around her she cares about, she cares about those who devote their service to her and she wants them to be happy. And she must've looked at me and thought 'You poor little sausage, it's about time you got married'... And she knew me well. I think she might've [known his sexuality] I think the Queen is a very astute women and she knows her staff inside out."

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paul burrell this morning1© Photo: Rex

The former royal butler was married for 32 years to wife Maria, and has two adult sons

Of his family, he added: "I still love my wife, and I love my boys - they are the best thing that ever happened to me in my lifetime… and to sit with them and talk to them about my sexuality and to cry with them, and say 'This is your dad'. I said, 'I'm not going to change, I'll always be here for you'… And I said that to my wife. I said 'I am your best friend, I'll always look out for you.'

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"She [Maria] went into it [marriage] with her eyes wide open. Did she know? Well she knew of me in the Palace and she knew my lifestyle in the Palace…. Yes, I was attracted to men and she knew that, but I was also attracted to women. My golden years were marrying Maria and having the boys, I will never regret that or change that in anyway. That's who I am."

paul burrell wife sons© Photo: Rex

Paul's ex-wife Maria and their sons Alexander and Nicholas, pictured in 2004

Talking about new reports that his former employer, Princess Diana, knew about his sexuality, Paul explained: "I never had that conversation with her. I was her best friend. I was a great advisor on what to wear and when to wear it. I did great flower arrangements… It didn't have to be said. I think Diana was a very good judge of character too, the Queen wouldn’t have chosen me to stand beside her for eleven years, and Diana wouldn't have chosen me for ten years if I wasn't the right person." He later added, "I'm sure I'm not the only dad who has found themselves in this position. If you're in this position, be brave. Tell your wife, tell your children, plan your life."

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