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A Royal Duty

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,259 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Paul, one of the Queen's personal footmen, met Diana during one of her first visits to Balmoral Castle. And while it may have been fate that brought them together, they shared a strong bond that endured to the end of her life. Burrell became Diana's confidant and his unique perspective casts new light on the Princess of Wales and the events that would shape her life and th ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published October 25th 2003 by Putnam Adult (first published February 29th 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,915)
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Petra X
The first chapters of this book are of Paul Burrell's rather boring life as a child. Just like the most famous Hovis advert ever. An idealised view of poor-but-honest people in the mining villages up North. It's not phenomenally interesting.

The next section is Paul getting a job as the lowest of the low, dish washer, in Buckingham Palace and working his way up to 12 years service as the Queen's footman. The revelations of life in the Palace are quite entertaining. Lower orders are not allowed to
...more
Mandy
I can't understand why the British people hated him for writing this book. If anything it made the royal family look good b/c we were able to understand their side more by him writing Diana's side of the story. It really was a great book. It bothered me that Paul and his family had to go through all that court drama for as long as he did and all of a sudden.,.... poof.... the queen ended the madness in one converstaion that should have taken place a YEAR EARLIER!
Lady
Five years after Di's death, Burrell, during the "Old Bailey" trial, became suicidal and wished to die so that he could be with his precious princess again. In my opinion, the man is obsessed with Di in a most unhealthy way and I'm honestly surprised his wife Maria hasn't divorced his pathetic ass by now. I think Maria said it best: "[Diana] had you by the balls when she was alive and she's still got you by the balls!" I really don't get the pathological obsession with a narcissistic borderline ...more
S.P. Mount
I read this book a long time ago and remembered when I saw it here, that I really, really enjoyed it back then. let me begin by saying that the Butler did it.

What I enjoyed most about it was the insight into the life of the Royals at Buckingham & Kensington Palaces, the awe and amazement that Burrell gets across of the young princess being portrayed as vulnerable as anyone else, a normal young woman, a tad spoiled perhaps, but overwhelmed and having to deal with everything that was happenin
...more
Louise
Burrell tells this sad story with love and respect. Their friendship must have been wide and deep. It's obvious that this emotionally dependent and abandoned Princess needed someone. With two sons the same age has her sons, and a friendly wife, and a good understanding of the people in her life, Paul Burrell was perfect for meeting Diana's need for emotional support. Her needs matched his need for friendship and laughter as well his sense of duty, commitment to the monarchy and workaholic streak ...more
Debbie Carter
Started this last night and read later than I should have, well into the night. I thought this was solely about his service to Diana but it's more a memoir of his entire service at Buckingham Palace. Last night I read the introductory chapters about his childhood, hotel training, how he got his job at the palace, and his service to the queen. Diana hasn't entered the story yet but he has my full attention. As a fan of TV documentaries about the royals, this offers still more detail about the org ...more
Salam Ch
I am done with this book not interested in the butler or footman's autobiography. my aim was lady Di biography so dropped it and watched a 3 hours documentary about her life and her interview with Martin Bashir instead.
Shahrun
Firstly, I really must thank RedFox5 for very generously sending me this book, as most likely I would have never picked it up to read.

What I read here is a really facinating look behind closed doors of the British Royal family - especially behind Diana, Princess of Wales' door! I although I had heard of Paul Burrell, it didn't mean much to me. I had no idea he had worked for the Queen first - for 10 years! Or that he was married and his wife was also in royal service. The chapter dedicated to hi
...more
Barbra
I was in two minds as to buying this book or not but I felt it only fair to read what the author had written and I am so glad that I did. I am sure that Paul Burrell has written an honest account of his life with the Princess and I also feel that Diana herself would have approved of the book and the way in which it is written. The author obviously only ever had the Princess's well-being at heart and I don't think he would ever have done anything to hurt her or her memory.

Back Cover Blurb:
The unt
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Rebecca
Insofar as Burrell gives details into the royal palace and life therein, it's an interesting read for the novelty value. Burrell is a master of the use of full stops (or periods, as Americans say it). The parts about his trial and the life of Princess Diana would only really be enjoyed by a Diana fanatic, and I'm not one. His account of the last two events are tinged with bias and are obviously one sided, but the fact of the matter is that his trial collapsed and he was therefore innocent of the ...more
Angie
There's a saying along the lines of "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

Paul Burrell spends over 400 pages describing innumerable instances in which he believed he served as Diana's faultless knight in shining armor. He repeatedly uses words such as "heroic" and "discrete" (!) to describe himself, which struck me as increasingly strange as the book plodded on. Also, Paul has a wife and family but yet states clearly that his loyalty was/is foremos
...more
Marlene
Not a book I would have bought for myself, as I don't have a great interest in the royal family. However, someone gave it to me years ago so figured I might as well read it.

Having read it, I just cannot get my head around the life style of royalty and their servants. It is a book about life I don't understand and about people I don't understand. A princess who was selfish and needy and mentally unbalanced who went over the line in her dependence on and confiding in her butler and a butler who we
...more
honeybee
Surprisingly interesting. I enjoyed this book more then I expected. I thought it would be some what controversial due to the publicity it gained during its release (think: bad mouthing of the royal family and them being portrayed as cold and some what heartless). It was infact the opposite, Paul obviously had the upmost respect for the royal family and revealed a more of the warmth and kindness the royal family unforchantly keep hidden from the public. This book is one man's tribute to Diana tha ...more
Mostafa Mostafa
it is apparent that mr burell intended to sell HIS biography making use of his publicity regarding his relationship with diana...
i didnt expect that..i began reading expecting it to be a lady diana book..i waited till page 100 and diana barely appears...
i hate this book :/ such a disappointment
S'hi
In fairy tales everyone wants to be the Princess. Paul Burrell was a bit more realistic in wanting to work in Buckingham Palace. He might not have believed that he was going to actually get there, but he did what was needed and that’s exactly where the path lead.

Much of the duty of a member of the staff to royalty requires holding in one’s own self for the sake of the role to be fulfilled. Yet at every stage something about Paul seems to be ready to burst from the seams. That he eventually worke
...more
Christine Blachford
I don’t really know why I read this. It was on the bookshelf of a family member, and I was sitting nearer it, so I opened it and began to read. The story of Paul Burrell and his relationship with the Royal Family begins with his early years and how he got a job at Buckingham Palace. The information about dragging round Corgis every single day, twice a day, to how he became a butler and what that entails was absolutely fascinating.

I was less interested in the details about his relationship with P
...more
Leslie
I think reading this book in 2014 gives me a different perspective than if I had read it upon publication.

As a Yank I was a huge Princess Di fan and truly mourned her passing. However time heals all wounds and like many who died young I know think that Princess Diana at 36 eternally is much better than at 50 or 52.

The author, who was always in the right place at the right time for a promotion, claims to have had an unprecedented relationship with the late princess. And he unquestionably adores(
...more
Shannon Breen
As a fan of UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS (and more down than up), I enjoyed just hearing about the workings of the palace snf the duties of a footman to the Queen. I'm sure Paul Burrell's motives (despite what he says) had to be at least partially monetary in writing this book. Nonetheless the book he produced is an engaging account of life in the palace. I'm not sure why it provoked such anger since it portrays the royal family in a generally positive light. He pointed out some of their foibles, especi ...more
Cindy
It seems like Paul Burrell is either crazy about the royals, or he doesn't want to burn any bridges in case another lucrative job offer comes along from the queen.
Redfox5
Before I read this book I was no fan of Diana. I had found her to showy and stupidity belived the lies that there was a huge rift between her and the rest of the Royal family. It winds me up when people say that the Queen had Diana killed and I suppose I blaimed Diana for it which was dumb because she was dead. This book has really changed my opinion of her but now I'm sitting here wondering if Paul Burrell is a credible source. Will quotes from this book be used in school history books in the f ...more
Julie
I have never, that I recall, read a trashy "tell-all" book. I got this book in a mixed genre "lot" I purchased on ebay. It sat on my shelf for a very long time, until the anniversary of Princess Diana's death a few weeks ago, got me to thinking about pulling this one out. It didn't read like a gossip book. It was about the life of butler Paul Burrell and his close relationship to the princess. About half way through it, I started to get tired of it. All these rich spoiled people and the back sta ...more
Andrew
this review first appeared on [http://intraspace.blogspot.com]

i suppose i should start by explaining why i read this book. i can't really think of a good explanation other than the fact that i read the first few pages to see what a royal biography was like and ended up getting hooked. sucker.

i had also forgotten what a huge stink this book made when it was first released. paul burrell, former footman to the queen and butler to diana, was accused of all manner of things when it came out - betrayi
...more
Tom Schulte
fascinating for pulling back the curtain on entering service for the royals and an insisted view to the dysfunctional marriage of Di and Charles. The title suggests butler Burrell's don't defense in the case against him: he didn't steal he "kept for safekeeping" key items, something supported solely in posthumous communications and after his demonization started. seems like he could be painting himself as victim when possibly something was amiss. He rushes over the legal case in a quick conclusi ...more
Sharon
I know people tend to have a love or hate relationship with Paul Burrell with some people feeling as if he is cashing in on Diana's death. Therefore I began the book with reservations - but these were quickly put to one side when I got into the fascinating royal stories and exceptional life of this butler. It charts his time as footman to the queen and butler to the Wales' and every bit of it is riveting. Paul actually comes across as very honest - I don't think there is anything mercenary or ca ...more
Jenn
This is almost like two books in one. Loved the first 300 pages. Paul has had an amazing life and I loved his detail and story telling of that life. I am always interested in Princess Diana's life. I would have truly loved "The Bodyguard II" with Kevin Costner and Princess Di- I am really sad to have read that was a possibility never realized.

I started to get concerned when the Princess dies and 100 pages were left; this is when Paul becomes unlikeable. This part of the book seemed rather stran
...more
Alison
The most eye-opening part of this book, for me, was understanding the role of the service people employed by the royals. I've always been somewhat fascinated by Lady Di so it was very interesting to get a glimpse of her "real" life. I was a bit disturbed by just how dutiful butler Paul Burrell was to Diana. He put her needs ahead of his wife and children too much for my comfort!
The other information that surprised me was the proactive role the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh took in trying to salvag
...more
Maggie
A good read. Paul Burrell was initially Butler to the Queen, then to Prince Charles and Princess Diana at Highgove and, finally when the marriage failed, to Diana back at Kensington Palace. I gained some real insight into how Royalty live, the control and manipulation by the 'grey suits' and tragedy of lost love, lost dignity and the wonderful resilience of the human spirit in both Diana and Paul Burrell.

Burrell did not say anything disparaging about Charles or the Queen and Prince Philip. His
...more
Ashlyn Hunt

The jury is still out on A Royal Duty. Paul Burrell is a vivid writer, who captures emotions and images splendidly. I truly appreciate his gift to hold the reader through eloquent words and depictions. However, I feel as though this book has cast an even darker shadow upon the royal family. They appear cut-off from the rest of the world, detached from not only the people they govern, but human beings as a whole.

Diana came off as a troubled soul, her mental illness completely ignored by family a
...more
Laura Planton
Paul Burrell's account of his time as a butler to the royals. First for Prince Charles, then for the couple and finally just for Diana.
Burrell asserts that Diana truly loved Charles, the queen and Prince Phillip actively counseled the couple as they went through their marriage problems and that the queen actually had a very good relationship with Diana, contrary to what has been described in the media. He does not have kind words for the Spencers. Diana did not have a close relationship with her
...more
Mary
Completely fascinating insights into the Royal world, but I feel if I were British I would have gotten a lot more out of it. Princess Diana was a beautiful person who did many great deeds, and she definitely had a hard time being royalty, but she was by no means a commoner. She was still a very spoiled rich girl who just happened to be a very compassionate person.
I really enjoyed the first half of the book because it describes the Queen and being on her staff. When the Princess enters the pictu
...more
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7129
Over the course of 21 years, Paul Burrell rose from member of the Royal household staff to personal attendant to the Queen of England and then butler to the Prince and Princess of Wales. Ultimately, he became the trusted personal assistant and confidante to the late Diana, Princess of Wales. In 2003, he published his autobiography, A Royal Duty, which included his personal account of his Royal ser ...more
More about Paul Burrell...
The Way We Were: Remembering Diana In the Royal Manner : Expert Advice on Etiquette and Entertaining from the Former Butler to Diana, Princess of Wales Entertaining With Style In koninklijke dienst La Vida Real De Diana De Gales

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“Princess Diana talking to Prince William about the loss of her title Her Royal Highness: She turned to William in her distress. She (Princess Diana) told me how he had sat with her one night when she was upset over the loss of HRH, put his arms around her and said: Don't worry, Mummy. I will give it back to you one day when I am king.” 28 likes
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