Former royal butler Paul Burrell slams ‘grotesque’ Princess Diana crash scenes on The Crown

Paul Burrell, who was Princess Diana’s butler, has spoken out against the new series (PA Archive)
Paul Burrell, who was Princess Diana’s butler, has spoken out against the new series (PA Archive)

Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell has called out The Crown for going “too far” in re-enacting the final moments of the late royal’s life.

The 65-year-old joined the household of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1987 where he worked as her butler until her untimely death on August 31, 1997.

Burrell branded the final series, which focuses on the events leading up to her tragic death, as  “distasteful” and insisted that it was “macabre” to show the crushed Mercedes-Benz in which she died.

He told The Mirror US: “It still feels macabre to show the vehicle in which she died, it’s just gone too far.

“I find the whole scene of Diana’s death portrayed in a fictional TV show to be grotesque.”

Following the release of the latest series, Burrell urged viewers to watch The Crown with caution and asked viewers to focus on the late princess’ legacy rather than her final moments.

The former I’m A Celeb star also voiced his concern about the sixth and final season on ITV’s Lorraine, admitting he’s unable to watch the “graphic” drama.

He said: “I can’t watch that [series six of The Crown] it’s too graphic and too much. It’s going to upset a lot of people. I find this very difficult, this series – I don’t know if I can watch it.

“I can watch the first few series, because it’s so long ago, but now it’s too soon. I am going to be critical. I do think the Princess was misunderstood. The Diana I knew was a fighter and she fought for her boys.”

It’s not just Princess Diana that Burrell believes has been “misrepresented” by the show, but the late Queen, played by actress Imelda Staunton, who he described as a “warm, kind, loving gran”.

Part one of the final series was released to Netflix on Thursday and depicts the budding romance between Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed, as well as the events surrounding their deaths in a car crash in Paris.

He said: “I’m not happy because I knew the Queen very well. I stood beside her for 11 years. I knew her intimately.”

He added: “She was a kind, warm, generous, funny lady who you’d want to be your gran. And it’s just that people didn’t get to see her. She was rather a remote figure.

“And I loved her. I was very moved when she died. She was the beating heart of our nation. What can I say? I think it’s unfair. Again, she’s been misrepresented or misinterpreted.

“It’s not Imelda Staunton’s fault. She’s just reading the lines. It’s the way it’s been written. It’s been written for a reason.”

In 2022 Netflix defended the fifth series as a “fictional dramatisation”.

Dame Judi Dench and former prime minister Sir John Major were among those who criticised the storylines before they aired.

The Crown is being released in two parts, with the first four episodes launched on Thursday and the other four airing on December 14.