Paul Burrell has confirmed he is battling prostate cancer, weeks after wading into the growing rift between warring Princes William and Harry.
The late Diana, Princess of Wales‘ former butler announced the news during an appearance on Monday’s edition of Lorraine, admitting the surprise diagnosis has strengthened his relationship with his two sons.
Burrell, 64 – who famously claimed he was Diana’s ‘rock’ following her acrimonious 1996 divorce from King Charles – also revealed he will undergo an operation next month to remove the affected prostate gland.
Revelation: Paul Burrell has confirmed he is battling prostate cancer , weeks after wading into the growing rift between warring Princes William and Harry
He explained: ‘I’m tired, I’m on hormone therapy, it’s robbing me of my testosterone so my beard isn’t growing as it should, I’m tired, and I’m getting hot flushes.
‘In the summer I had to go for a medical for a TV programme I was doing and their duty of care was to go for a full medical. And out of that was a high level of a chemical PSA produced by your prostate gland.’
He added: ‘I was wrapping Christmas presents, wondering “will I be here next Christmas?” I had to tell my boys, and they said to me, “Dad we need to see you more.”‘
The second most common form of cancer in men over the age of 50, prostate cancer affects the male reproductive system by infecting the small gland responsible for producing and transporting seminal fluid.
Speaking out: The late Diana, Princess of Wales ‘ former butler announced the news during an appearance on Monday’s edition of Lorraine
WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?
How many people does it kill?
More than 11,800 men a year – or one every 45 minutes – are killed by the disease in Britain, compared with about 11,400 women dying of breast cancer.
It means prostate cancer is behind only lung and bowel in terms of how many people it kills in Britain.
In the US, the disease kills 26,000 men each year.
Despite this, it receives less than half the research funding of breast cancer and treatments for the disease are trailing at least a decade behind.
How many men are diagnosed annually?
Every year, upwards of 52,300 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK – more than 140 every day.
How quickly does it develop?
Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs someone has it for many years, according to the NHS.
If the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms, a policy of ‘watchful waiting’ or ‘active surveillance’ may be adopted.
Some patients can be cured if the disease is treated in the early stages.
But if it diagnosed at a later stage, when it has spread, then it becomes terminal and treatment revolves around relieving symptoms.
Thousands of men are put off seeking a diagnosis because of the known side effects from treatment, including erectile dysfunction.
Tests and treatment
Tests for prostate cancer are haphazard, with accurate tools only just beginning to emerge.
There is no national prostate screening programme as for years the tests have been too inaccurate.
Doctors struggle to distinguish between aggressive and less serious tumours, making it hard to decide on treatment.
Men over 50 are eligible for a ‘PSA’ blood test which gives doctors a rough idea of whether a patient is at risk.
But it is unreliable. Patients who get a positive result are usually given a biopsy which is also not foolproof.
Scientists are unsure as to what causes prostate cancer, but age, obesity and a lack of exercise are known risks.
Anyone with any concerns can speak to Prostate Cancer UK’s specialist nurses on 0800 074 8383 or visit prostatecanceruk.org
Taking action: Burrell also revealed he will undergo an operation next month to remove the affected prostate gland
Discussing his decision to remove the gland, he added: ‘My father days are over. I don’t want any more children, I’ve got two wonderful boys, that’s fine.
‘But not everything finishes because you loose your prostrate. It can continue to be as good as it ever was in the bedroom.
‘You can still have a good sex life but you have to talk about it. Talk about it, don’t hide it.’
Old times: Former royal butler Burrell with Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 – weeks before she was killed in a car accident with boyfriend Dodi Fayed
Burrell fathered sons Alexander and Nicholas with ex-wife Maria Cosgrove – who he met while working at Buckingham Palace – before their divorce in 2016 after 32-years of marriage.
He later came out as gay before marrying partner Graham Cooper, a corporate lawyer, in 2017.
Burrell’s announcement comes after he lashed out at criticism from Prince Harry, claiming he doesn’t recognise ‘the young man I see today’.
Hitting out: The Duke of Sussex has accused Burrell of ‘milking’ Princess Diana’s death for money (pictured together in 1997)
Not happy: In his memoir Harry said Burrell made his ‘blood boil’ by releasing a book about Princess Diana called A Royal Duty
In his controversial memoir Spare, the Duke of Sussex said Diana’s former butler was ‘milking’ her death for money when he published his 2001 book A Royal Duty – which contained a raft of private revelations.
But appearing on Australian breakfast show Sunrise, Burrell said: ‘I first met him in his mummy’s tummy. I don’t recognise the young man I see today. That’s not the boy I knew.
‘What I see now is an angry, petulant, privileged prince who is constantly blaming other people and not taking accountability on his part.’
Right of reply: Burrell appeared on Australian TV this morning after being attacked by Harry
Burrell served as a footman for the Queen before working for Diana for ten years until her death in 1997.
Speaking from his home in Florida, he said the Duke of Sussex had ‘changed fundamentally’ and that his mother would be ‘appalled’.
He added: ‘She would be angry at these personal, vindictive revelations which don’t just undermine Harry, but his country, his family, the institution – which his mother was very proud of – and his late grandmother’s legacy.’