Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell: ‘Kate Middleton doesn’t have the x-factor’

By @chelean on
  • Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge reacts after shooting an arrow at Changlimithang Archery Ground in Thimphu, Bhutan, April 14, 2016.
    Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge reacts after shooting an arrow at Changlimithang Archery Ground in Thimphu, Bhutan, April 14, 2016. Reuters/Cathal McNaughton
  • Paul Burrell
    Paul Burrell, former butler and confidante of Princess Diana, gives an autographed copy of his book, 'A Royal Duty,' back to a fan at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Skokie, Illinois, November 11, 2003. Reuters/John Gress
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Kate Middleton doesn’t have the x-factor, according to Princess Diana’s former butler. Paul Burrell tried to explain what he meant by it after an intense grilling from “The Today Show” host Karl Stefanovic on Monday.

In an exclusive interview with 9News, Burrell said that while Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge is a “lovely, lovely girl,” she does not have the “magic quality” that her mother-in-law had. Kate is married to the late Princess of Wales’ elder son, Prince William.

“She totally adores her husband; they’re devoted to each other,” the 59-year-old former royal household servant said. “But that extra something, which you would call the x-factor, it’s not there. I met Mother Teresa, she had it. Pope John Paull II had it. The Queen has it. Diana certainly had it. Kate doesn’t.”

The comment did not sit well with Stefanovic. So when he got the chance to interview Burrell on his show, he did not hold back with his words.

“How dare you,” the presenter said even after Burrell apologised for his comments that were “taken out of context.” Burrell backtracked on his words, explaining that Diana was unique and irreplaceable.

“And she had that something, which is charisma or magic, I don’t question what it is,” he said, adding praises for Kate. “Maybe my comment was out of kilter; I didn’t mean it that way. What I meant was she is a safe pair of hands. Diana was much bigger, much more. Kate wouldn’t want to be Diana. She wouldn’t want to try and fill her shoes. That’s an impossible task.”

When Burrell said he saw something special and magical about Diana when standing beside her, Stefanovic asked how often had he stood beside Kate. Burrell then admitted that he hadn’t; he only sees her through a camera’s lens.

Stefanovic wasn’t done with him, though. The Australian presenter asked him to imagine how William would react to his comments. “Why don’t you leave Kate alone?” Do you have some sort of oxygen deprivation at the moment? She is a mother of two doing the very best she can. She’s awesome,” Stefanovic told the Royal Victorian Medal recipient.

Burrell started Royal Service at 18 as a foot man to the Buckingham Palace and later as Queen Elizabeth’s personal footman. He then became Diana’s butler in 1987 and held the role until her death in 1997. Burrell has released four books about his friendship with Diana since her death.

He is in Australia to host a charity afternoon tea at the Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast on Thursday. He will also hold a private etiquette class during the event.

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