By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com December 17 2002 1:00 AM ET
Intimate letters written by the former personal butler to Princess Diana are to be sold by an Australian man who claims to be his ex-lover. Starting Tuesday, antiques dealer Gregory Pead will display 53 items at his shop in eastern Australia, including handwritten letters, photographs, and postcards he claims were sent to him by royal butler Paul Burrell. The letters, dated in the early 1980s, contain Burrell's candid thoughts about working for the royal family as well as declarations of his love for Pead, Pead's business partners said Monday. "They are love letters; some of them can make you blush," said Lorraine McConnell, a co-owner of the Times Past Collectibles store on the Gold Coast, a resort area 60 miles south of the Queensland state capital of Brisbane. Burrell, who married in 1984 and has two sons, has never acknowledged having a relationship with Pead.
The former butler stood trial last month on charges of stealing hundreds of items from the late princess's estate. The trial collapsed when Queen Elizabeth II confirmed that Burrell had told her he was holding some of the items for safekeeping. Burrell then began granting interviews to the British media, talking about life inside the palace and embarrassing the royal family. In a letter to Pead, dated March 1981 and released Monday, Burrell describes being suspended for several days during an investigation into reports of homosexuality among staff aboard the royal yacht Britannia. "The Queen was informed, and when I returned to work she discussed it with me," Burrell says in the letter. "She said she was 'so pleased' I was able to return to work and 'this awful business' was over.... Now that my boss knows, I have nothing to worry about--do I?" the letter continues.
Other letters--which are written in fountain pen on palace stationery--provide descriptions of Princess Diana's wedding dress a week before she was married to Prince Charles as well as security measures for a royal event, Pead's business partners said. Rick Andrews, co-owner with Pead and McConnell of the antiques store, said he can see no reason why the private letters should not be sold. "They are no good anymore, and he [Pead] doesn't want them," Andrews said. "I would say they will go on the market and it depends what the market is prepared to pay for something like that. Are they worth a dollar each or $10,000 [U.S. $5,600] each? You never know."