IT’S been a decade of ups and downs for former royal butler Paul Burrell, but one constant has remained throughout – his beloved flower shop.
This November will mark 10 years since Mr Burrell and his wife Maria first opened the popular florists, which is now in Farndon High Street.
To celebrate, the 53-year-old held a party at the shop for close friends and family as a thank you for their support.
He has faced a number of obstacles over the years, including his highly publicised court case, when he was sensationally acquitted of stealing from Princess Diana, and an arson attack that destroyed his previous flower shop in Holt.
But, as he reflects on 10 years of the business, he calls the shop his ‘saviour’.
He said: “I never thought I’d still be here after 10 years. This shop has been a safe haven for me, it has carried me through the bad times and been somewhere I can go to forget the world.
“It’s truly been my saviour, my sanctuary.
“Ordinary people in this village have kept me grounded and the gathering is a thank you to everyone who has supported us and not lost faith.”
Mr Burrell, who displays a framed picture of himself and Diana on his shop wall, added: “The older you get the more you realise what you want from life and I’ve travelled the world and always come back to Britain because this is my home.”
And though his wife and grown-up sons, Alex and Nick, live most of the year in the family’s Florida home because ‘they prefer sunshine to rain’, Mr Burrell says he prefers to live the simpler life in the Cheshire countryside.
He said: “I love painting, country walks and Downton Abbey – I’m not bothered about the limelight – it’s not for me.
“I don’t miss my old life, though I do miss the people.
“I miss the Queen and, of course, Diana, but that was my old life – all that is in the past now.
“Here’s to the next 10 years of my shop.”