Former royal butler Paul Burrell discloses ‘life changing’ cancer diagnosis

Paul Burrell, former footman to Queen Elizabeth II and butler to Princess Diana, has revealed that he is currently receiving treatment for prostate cancer.

Appearing on Lorraine this morning, the 64-year-old disclosed how the treatment for his cancer is affecting his emotional wellbeing.

“I’m tired because I’m on hormone therapy at the moment and it’s sort of robbing me of my testosterone,” he said.

“My beard isn’t growing like it should, I’m tired, I’m emotional, I get hot flashes.”

Explaining his diagnosis, Burrell said: “In the summer I had to go for a medical for a TV programme I was doing and I had a full MOT. Out of that came a surprisingly high PSA test [a chemical released by the prostate gland]. I had no idea what a PSA test was.”

He continued: “So I went to my GP, he said, ‘This is unusual’ and he examined me and sent me for an MRI scan. And the MRI scan of course was the window in which they looked through and saw a shadow on my prostate.”

On the aftermath of his diagnosis, Paul shared that he is on an “emotional” and “educational” rollercoaster.

He added: “Having a biopsy itself and finding the cancer, wrapping Christmas presents this year thinking, ‘Am I going to be here next year? I need to tell my boys.’”

Burrell revealed that he went to the US during the festive period and told his sons.

Former royal butler Paul Burrell (PA Archive)
Former royal butler Paul Burrell (PA Archive)

“They sat with me and held me and said, ‘Dad, we need to spend more time with you,’” he said.

Burrell noted that he aims to raise awareness of prostate cancer and encourage all men to get checked. “You realise that there are thousands of men like me that had no symptoms, I didn’t realise what was happening and it could be too late,” he said.

“So my message is: I was lucky, I was really lucky they caught it at the beginning. Men out there can go to their GP and ask for a PSA test, men over 50 and especially if you have history in the family.”

“I don’t think men are particularly good at going to the doctors so if you love them, push them out of the door and get checked.”

Paul later shared that he will be having his first operation on 27 February and he will be documenting his journey on Lorraine.

During the interview, the former butler also opened up about being left “bewildered” by the release of Prince Harry’s recent memoir Spare.

“[Harry’s] known me all his life as ‘Paul’. He knew how much I loved his mother and protected her memory, he knows all of that.”

“Why did he call me ‘Mummy’s Butler?’ Why couldn’t he have asked, come to me personally and said he wasn’t happy with the situation?”

Lorraine airs weekdays at 9am on ITV1 & ITVX.