Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell has come out as gay after announcing he is to wed his boyfriend just nine months after divorcing his wife of 32 years.Mr Burrell, 58, now a florist living in Cheshire, will tie the knot to his lawyer partner Graham Cooper, 58, next month.
The father-of-two divorced his wife Maria, 62, in last year and it is believed that his new wedding announcement is his first acknowledgement that he is gay.
The couple's adult sons Alexander, 27, and Nicholas, 24, are expected to fly over from the US to attend the wedding ceremony in the Lake District. Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell is believed to be tying the knot to his lawyer partner Graham Cooper next monthMr Burrell, who served as Princess Diana's butler for 10 years and was said to be called 'her rock', is yet to speak about the relationship publicly but a spokesman has confirmed the 'forthcoming marriage'.Mr Burrell and Mr Cooper live together and were listed as directors at the same company in records from 2011.They were also pictured together on Facebook at the Blackberry Creek Retreat Bed & Breakfast, during a holiday in Missouri, US, in 2014.
A source told the Sun that their 'lavish' wedding ceremony would be ‘circus themed’ – with waiters dressed as clowns and ringmasters – and that he and his boyfriend had already held their stag do with friends at a Blackpool drag club.
Mr Burrell has always refused to discuss his sexuality despite a 2002 expose in which an Australian man claimed they had enjoyed a three-year relationship in the early 1980s before he married Maria.
Burrell, who served Princess Diana (pictured together in 1994) for ten years, claimed the Princess of Wales called him her 'rock' and the 'only man I ever trusted'
Paul Burrell on his marriage and relationship with Princess DianaThey told the Sun: 'Paul's friends and family all know but for a long time he kept it a closely guarded secret. 'He did share it with Diana while he worked with her because they were so close.'But at the time she was the only woman he felt he could tell.'
Mr Burrell and his wife announced their divorce just months ago, but it is believed that they had been living separately for some time before they split up.While he decided to stay in Cheshire, Maria now lives in a luxury home in Florida. Burrell now runs his florist, Paul Burrell Flowers, close to where the family used to live in the village of Farndon.
Paul Burrell Flowers in the Farndon High Street, Cheshire, where the former Royal butler was seen working last monthLast month he was pictured taking flowers inside the store and serving customers. Although he is not thought to work there on a day-to-day basis.Paul and Maria met while they were both working at Buckingham Palace, with Maria serving as the Duke of Edinburgh's maid, and married in 1984.
An established tradition suggested one of them should give up their job with the Royal Family, but the Queen made an exception for them, allowing both to remain in Royal service.
A spokesman announced last year that their decision to divorce was a 'mutual one'.A statement said: 'Our clients Paul and Maria Burrell would like to end any speculation over the past few days by confirming that they are currently going through a divorce.
Paul Burrell and ex-wife Maria, who divorced last year after 32 years of marriage
Paul and Maria Burell have two sons together, Alexander and Nicholas 'The decision to file for divorce was a mutual one, both Paul and Maria remain the best of friends and have two wonderful sons together who remain their priority.
'Paul and Maria will not be giving any further comments and would kindly request that their privacy is respected during this time.'
Mr Burrell joined Prince Charles and Diana at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire in 1987 and remained there until her death in 1997.
In 2003 he wrote a tell-all memoir 'A Royal Duty' that went into detail about his time serving the Prince and Princess of Wales, and featured letters to him from Diana.In 2006 Mr Burrell released his second book about his time serving Princess Diana, called The Way We Were.
In the international bestseller, which Princes William and Harry branded a 'betrayal', he claimed Diana described him as her 'rock' and 'the only man I can trust'.
With the proceeds of the book, he bought a property in Clermont, near Orlando, Florida, in 2004.
The relocation came two years after he was accused of stealing 352 items from Princess Diana's estate after she died - charges that were later dropped.
In 2006 he also released a follow-up book called The Way We Were. In this work, he claimed Diana's mother Frances Shand Kydd didn't like him and believed he was 'just another hanger-on grasping at Diana's celebrity'.
Maria Burrell moved to Florida in 2010 after her husband admitted he had not told 'the whole truth' at the inquest into Diana's death in 1997, which was held in 2008.
Mr Burrell has made a number of TV appearances since Diana's death, including on Ant And Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway (left) and on ITV's I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here in 2004 (right)
After his career serving the Royals, Mr Burrell made a number of TV appearances.
In 2004 he was runner-up in series four of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! in which he stayed in the Australian jungle for three weeks - coming second to comedian Joe Pasquale.
He was also a judge and trainer on Australian Princess in 2005, and in March 2006 appeared on Countdown in Dictionary Corner.In early 2006, he appeared as Richard Gere on ITV's Stars In Their Eyes, singing Razzle Dazzle from the film Chicago.
In September 2015, Paul appeared in Celebrity Big Brother as part of a shopping task.
Paul Burrell served as Princess Diana's private butler for 10 yearsBurrell, who entered Royal Service at age 18, as a Palace footman, became the Queen's personal footman a year later.
He joined Prince Charles and Diana at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire in 1987 and remained there until her death in August 1997.
Burrell was the only non-family member to be present at Diana's private burial at the Spencer estate Althorp. In 1993 she wrote a letter to him that claimed the Prince of Wales was plotting to kill her so he could marry Tiggy Legge-Bourke, the former nanny to Princes William and Harry.
The note was shown at the inquest into her death and was sent to Burrell in October - 10 months after her separation from Prince Charles was announced.
Burrell wrote two tell-all books after her death - A Royal Duty in 2003 and a follow-up book called The Way We Were in 2006 - in which he claimed she had called him 'the only man I can trust'.
It is believed the Princess of Wales entrusted him with her private papers during her divorce.
He said: 'She was surrounded by the richest, most educated people and she chose a lorry driver's son from Derbyshire.
'She called me her rock and I took care of her.'