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A Royal Duty: Updated with New Material

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,677 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews
The #1 "New York Times" bestselling portrait of Princess Diana by her trusted butler, who reveals intimate details of a life spent among the royal family, arrives in this paperback edition that features previously unseen photographs.
Paperback, 455 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Signet (first published February 29th 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Petra Eggs
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
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I have a lot of thoughts about this.

I really loved the beginning of the book. The details about what it's like serving the British royals are fascinating. How the castles are run, how the staff are trained and treated, is great stuff. You can tell that Burrell greatly respects the queen and the prince consort, and they treated him very well also. It was interesting seeing first impressions of Princess Diana joining the family, and what it was like for him to switch over to working for the Prince
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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!
May 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, diana, royals
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
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
S.P. Mount
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Debbie Carter
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookoholics
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.
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
this review first appeared on []

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
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 19, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Susan Williams
Gave you a great insight to the inside world of royalty. He did a nice job with it.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As much as is known about the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, this story by her devoted butler gives an indepth look at her as a person. She certainly had a lot to deal with. She was beautiful, loving, caring, fun, moody, lonely and selfish all rolled into one person. Paul Burrell served the Queen for 10 years before moving over to become Diana's butler and very close confidante. He does an excellent job of painting a positive picture of the royal family. Evidently the relationship between the ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really helped me understand a lot of questions I had about Princess Diana's life after her divorce from Prince Charles. It also gives a first hand account of the Royal family day to day life. The kindness and compassion showed by the Queen was really heartwarming. Such a beautiful human being snatched away too soon. This book really was a good read.
Shirley Revill
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book from the first page and it was such an insight into life working for the Royal family and the life of Diana Princess of Wales.
Will reread this book another day as I enjoyed it so much.
Highly recommended.
Shafa Binte
seemed quite extravagant to me!!
M Langlinais
More like 3.5 stars. Fairly engrossing but I also sort of hated myself for reading it. Full review here:
منور. محمد
I love this laidy
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable reading
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this book - especially that it was published in 2003 and it's now 2017 and so much more have come out about Paul Burrell, The Monarchy and the Spencer family. The book was an interesting read and discovery into the daily life at a palace and the Princess of Wales. Towards the end of the book though, more and more it appeared that the butler (Paul Burrell) had an unhealthy obsession with the princess - I have read other royal books from staff where they describe their ...more
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction

Her butler slept in her closet surrounded by her clothing after her death, creepy!
There was a lot of really interesting insider stuff in this book. You like Princess Diana even more and come to be creeped out by Paul Burrell the author and butler who claims he was her only trusted confidante. He sounds like he has a lot of delusions about their relationship. When she passed away he sat next to her coffin all night and then slept in her closet with her clothes all around him so he could smell he
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you ever wanted to have a sneak peek behind the ‘iron doors’ of royalty – this is the book to read. No, it does not divulge major secrets, but does show that even the Queen and family are human beings in their own right, and quite approachable at that by the sound of things.
Essentially, Butler Paul Burrell started working for the Queen herself at a very young age before moving to Prince Charles’ household and finally join Diana, Princess of Wales, back in London after her separation from the
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
Paul Burrell was very close to Diana and very loyal. He has nothing bad to say about her -- in fact, he seems a little obsessed with her at times. His devotion was so great that he even chose Diana over how own wife and children on occasion.
The first half of the book deals with Burrell's years in the queen's household as a footman. In this role, he had remarkable access to the monarch, feeding and walking her corgis, among other tasks, often while talking with her majesty. The description of lif
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  • My Story
  • Diana: Her New Life
  • Diana: Story of a Princess
  • The Day Diana Died
  • Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess
  • Diana
  • William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls
  • Diana, Princess Of Wales: A Tribute
  • The Diana Chronicles
  • Past Imperfect: An Autobiography
  • Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier
  • The Kindness of Strangers: The Autobiography
  • Diana in Private: The Princess Nobody Knows
  • American Son: A Portrait of John F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • The Woman He Loved
  • The Murder of Princess Diana
  • The Royals
  • Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage
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
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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.” 33 likes
“Resentment is trying to change something that is just what it is. When we can’t change it, we resent it.” 0 likes
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