Meghan and Harry 'stifled' by royal household, says Diana's former butler Paul Burrell

13 January 2020, 10:28

Paul Burrell, Princess Diana’s former butler (left) and Harry and Meghan (right)
Paul Burrell, Princess Diana’s former butler (left) and Harry and Meghan (right). Picture: PA
Sylvia De Luca

By Sylvia De Luca

Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell has spoken for the first time since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their plans to step down as “senior royals”.

Mr Burrell told ITV's Good Morning Britain, “I’m hoping William can bring a strong bridge towards his brother during this meeting and bring him back into the fold, as his brother, but Harry wants to be more of a humanitarian than a royal.” 

The comments come ahead of a meeting in Sandringham later today where the Queen will meet with senior royals to discuss the future roles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

He added: “I feel very sorry for the queen, of course… 93 years old, our monarch has suffered greatly over the years and seen a lot happen to her family, and she’s moved with the times. I do feel sorry for William and Harry not having that bond which they once had.

"Obviously when their mother died, they were cemented together and inseparable. I feel sorry for that and their mother would be sad, too."

Mr Burrell added he has been thinking about Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, the last few days.

“My thoughts have been with her this week. As I’ve seen this unfold in America, I’ve been thinking of her and she would have given the boys advice and said to them, “Marry for love”, which they have, “Be respectful and kind to your wife”, which they both have, but “Be happy”, because Diana wasn’t and clearly Meghan and Harry aren’t happy in the environment they’re in - being stifled by the royal household.” 

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and the Queen pictured together in 2018 at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London.
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and the Queen pictured together in 2018 at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London. Picture: PA

Prince Harry, the Duke of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales will all attend the meeting at Sandringham today, while the Duchess of Sussex is expected to join the discussion by phone from Canada.

The crunch talks - being described as the "Sandringham summit", will aim to explore what the "next steps" will be for the royal family, in line with the Queen's wish to find a solution within days.

It is thought that Charles will be travelling from Birkhall in Scotland, William from his Kensington Palace apartment and Harry from Frogmore Cottage near Windsor Castle.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex issued their bombshell statement last week to "step back" as senior royals and divide their time between the UK and North America.

It is understood the head of state and her son were only recently informed of the Sussexes' intention to explore their public positions as members of the monarchy and were not aware the statement was due to be issued.

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