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Diana's mother takes stand in Burrell trial

As the sensational trial of former royal butler Paul Burrell enters its second week, The Chronicle presents the latest evidence from the Old Bailey.

As the sensational trial of former royal butler Paul Burrell enters its second week, The Chronicle presents the latest evidence from the Old Bailey.

Described by Diana, Princess of Wales, as 'My Rock', Burrell, of High Street, Farndon, Chester, is accused of stealing 310 objects worth up to £6m from her Kensington Palace home.

The property, which includes designer clothes, souvenirs, photographs and signed cards, is said to belong to Diana's estate, the Prince of Wales or Prince William.

Burrell denies the three charges of theft, which are alleged to have taken place on or before June 30, 1998.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

Frances Shand Kydd, mother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales (158)

PRINCESS Diana's mother told the Old Bailey jury yesterday that her daughter's family photographs should have been 'kept under lock and key'.

Frances Shand Kydd was giving evidence against Paul Burrell, 44, from Farndon, the former butler at Kensington Palace.

When asked where private pictures of Diana should be kept, Mrs Shand Kydd answered: 'In the family archives or under lock and key. They were certainly private and personal.'

William Boyce QC, prosecuting, asked Mrs Shand Kydd, 66, to describe her relationship with her daughter.

Mrs Shand Kydd replied: 'Loving and trusting.' She said there were some 'ups and downs' and occasional 'disagreements' but this was typical of any family relationship.

She told the court that after her daughter's death in August 1997, she went to Kensington Palace to 'carry out Diana's wishes'.

But she found it 'too depressing' to work alone and relied on the emotional support of her daughters - co-executor Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, 33.

She said Burrell, who denies stealing any of the items, was heavily involved in sorting out Diana's affairs.

She relied on Burrell's 'extreme knowledge' of the palace and when she asked to help, he gave her a stash of private cards and letters.

Mrs Shand Kydd said: 'I said to the defendant, 'Surely there is something I can do not too painful.'

'He brought in four f iles. I did not know where they came from and he said, 'Would you like to sort this?'

'This I did by sorting cards from William and to William. Cards which were given to the boys. Cards which were from the Royal Family for the archives.'

She also dealt with letters from friends thanking Diana 'for wonderful evenings', and from organisations helped by the late Princess.

Some of the letters to William from his 'loving' mother date back to his schooldays at Ludgrove.

'I felt very touched by the volume of messages,' she said.

Mrs Shand Kydd admitted 'shred-ding' many of them because she thought they would be 'of no use to the boys in the years ahead'.

She also ripped out personal messages in books, often written by the authors to the late Princess, leaving the novels intact.

Mrs Shand Kydd insisted: 'Nothing went out of Kensington Palace without authority from the executors.'

Mr Boyce asked: 'At any time were you ever informed by anyone that Diana, Princess of Wales, had entrusted property to Burrell?'

Mrs Shand Kydd, who walked into the famous No 1 Court with the aid of a stick, sternly replied: 'No.'

The prosecutor asked what Diana would do with 'property of a personal nature' or belongings that could be traced back to her.

Diana's mother said: 'She was very, very careful with all things Royal.

'Never did they pass through her hands. She was also very careful with gifts from people.

'In all, and I can promise you, she gave away nothing.'

She insisted Burrell had never told her he was keeping her possessions for Diana's children or asked to take anything from the palace.

Mrs Shand Kydd told the court she and her daughter Sarah were very busy with legal matters, and she had to deal with French lawyers in Paris following Diana's death there.

The court heard how Diana altered her will before her death, passing on many of her possessions to her godchildren.

Mrs Shand Kydd said she was not 'absolutely certain' she knew about a 'side letter' to the will signed by Diana.

The trial continues.


BURRELL told detectives he kept certain items as 'the only safe way' of holding on to Diana's memory, the Old Bailey jury heard.

Prosecutor William Boyce QC said the former Royal butler gave police a typed 39-page statement following his arrest.

In it, he said: 'I had witnessed the removal of many personal items by her mother (Frances Shand Kydd) and sister (Lady Sarah McCorquodale) from Kensington Palace.

'But I believed they were seeking to dispose of important items.

'In particular, I saw her mother shredding important information which I thought in due course should be given to William and Harry.'

He said his emotions were too 'raw' to return negatives of Diana in her wedding dress. Other items found in his Farndon home were presents, he added.

THE jury heard Burrell was seen loading Princess Diana's evening dresses into his car at 3.30am.

A police officer patrolling the palace grounds allegedly saw him outside her Royal apartment holding an enormous wooden box and then stuff ing two evening gowns into his Ford Escort.

'He should not be, after her death, in Kensington Palace in the early hours of the morning and should not have been removing property in that way,' said Mr Boyce.

The first trial witness, Det Sgt Roger Milburn, told how police called at Burrell's home to look for an item Lady McCorquodale had accused him of taking.

He said their small search, which began at 6.50am on January 15 last year, unexpectedly became a major investigation when they found a stash of items he had allegedly stolen.

Burrell refused to watch the search and became 'suicidal', the jury heard. He was seen by a doctor and then taken into custody at 7.30pm.

In his statement, he said he kept a hoard of 3,020 negatives in a carrier bag to give to Princes William and Harry later.

'I feared, at the time of her death, there was a conspiracy theory to change history and erase certain parts of the Princess's life from it,' he explained.

DETECTIVES searching Burrell's home for Diana's stolen treasures were looking for a former lover's signet ring, the Old Bailey jury heard.

The court was told Lady McCorquo-dale had tipped off police that the butler was hiding a ring belonging to Major James Hewitt.

Burrell's counsel Lord Carlile QC, cross-examining Det Sgt Milburn, asked if they had found it.

The detective said: 'No, we did not.' Later, Lord Carlile criticised the detective's handling of the search as 'negligent' and accused him of failing to thoroughly research the nature of Burrell's relationship with the Princess.

Det Sgt Milburn was also slammed for not taking fingerprints or a DNA exhibit from the items.

The jury heard extracts from a letter from Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, in 1993, a year after she separated from Prince Charles.

She was planning to move from Kensington Palace back to the family home at Althorp, but he withdrew an earlier offer of the use of a garden house because he feared a media circus.

Diana and her brother fell out over the issue, and she slammed the phone down on him, it was revealed.

SCOTLAND Yard detectives 'grossly misled' Princes Charles and William, the jury heard.

Lord Carlile read to the jury a state-ment compiled by detectives for a summit meeting at Highgrove, Prince Charles' Gloucestershire home, last year.

He said their allegations had never been backed up, including one that Burrell had sold some of the belongings abroad.

Under cross-examination, the second witness in the trial Det Chief Insp Maxine de Bruner admitted not knowing Burrell had lectured on Royal etiquette on the QE2, or that his book Entertaining with Style sold out as soon as it hit the shops.

She agreed she had told the High-grove meeting that Burrell's lifestyle and finances had 'altered dramatically' after the death of the Princess of Wales.

Lord Carlile said police reports 'failed to give a fair picture of Burrell's f inances and lifestyle' to the princes before they and their advisors agreed to support a prosecution.

PRICELESS wedding presents belonging to the Prince and Princess of Wales were hidden in Burrell's house like 'bric-a-brac', the court heard.

The jury was shown some of the 310 precious items allegedly stolen.

Det Con Grant Sidey, the third witness in the six-week trial, said much of it was found in the butler's loft.

The court later heard that negatives of photos showing Diana and her family at Highgrove were in a Thornton's chocolate carrier bag in Burrell's home.

Giving evidence, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, the third executor of Diana's will, said he had no idea Burrell was keeping her possessions in trust for her children.

He also said he had no recollection of Burrell asking permission to remove any items from Kensington Palace.

The bishop told how Burrell took part in an all-night vigil at Kensington Palace before Diana's funeral, and had arranged a 'beautiful' flower display.

Cross-examined by Lord Carlile, the cleric was asked about a side-letter written by Diana to go with her will.

It asked for her personal effects to be divided between her sons and godchildren.

Bishop Richard admitted he could not remember ever seeing it before, or it being mentioned to him by his two fellow-executors, Diana's mother and sister.


David Holmes
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