Princess Diana's Former Butler Discloses Heartbreaking Health Diagnosis

Paul Burrell served as Princess Diana's butler for almost 10 years, until her untimely passing in 1997. Before then, he served Queen Elizabeth II as her footman. As such, Burrell was no stranger to the secrets and scandals of royal life; perhaps even to the contrary — keeping secrets hushed and scandals restrained could have been an unwritten job description. A trusted confidant to Princess Diana, she once called him her "rock," according to a lawyer for Burrell — but more on that later, via ABC News. When she died, Burrell was the sole attendee not of kin at her private burial. He had even stayed with her body ahead of the arrival of her husband, Charles, per The Guardian

In 2001, Burrell was accused of stealing hundreds of highly personal items from the late princess when she died. But the allegations proved to be short-lived, prompting a royal defense from the monarch herself, and the case was dismissed. Burrell had disclosed to the queen that he was safeguarding Princess Diana's possessions following her death.

Then in 2003, Burrell released a memoir in which he published a modified note to him from Princess Diana written in the months before her death. She believed Charles was planning to injure her in a car accident so he could remarry. William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, believed Burrell was attempting to profit from their mother's death, and he became estranged. 

Now, Burrell has sad news of his own. 

Paul Burrell reveals cancer diagnosis

Paul Burrell, whom Prince Harry referred to simply as "the butler" in his memoir, "Spare," (via Marie Claire) much to the chagrin of Burrell, revealed that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, via YouTube. Burrell explained that he was on hormone therapy which has been disrupting how his hair was growing. "I'm tired and emotional and I get hot flashes," he said, smiling, perhaps attempting to make light of his circumstances. 

After receiving an unusual test result, he was sent for an MRI which revealed cancer in his prostate. "I'm on an emotional, educational rollercoaster. Ups and downs, and not knowing where I'm going to be the next minute," he said. "And having the biopsy itself and finding the cancer — wrapping Christmas presents this year, and thinking, am I going to do this next year? Am I going to be here? I need to tell my boys," he said. 

His adult children, who live in the United States, held him when he gave them the news over Christmas. "Dad, we need to spend more time with you," he said his children responded. "And that's what it's about," Burrell said. 

Burrell continued with a message to those out there who might not have symptoms: he was fortunate his doctors caught his prostate cancer in the beginning stages. He urged men over 50 to ask for the relevant tests, and for their loved ones to encourage them to go as well.