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Earl removed flag from Diana's coffin; Spencer is silent on attack by Burrell.

Byline: Brian Farmer

EARL Spencer's rift with the Windsors ran so deep that he removed the Royal standard from the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, moments before it was buried and replaced it with a Spencer flag, former butler Paul Burrell has claimed.

After making the switch in front of the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry at Althorp House, the Earl announced: ``She is a Spencer now,'' Mr Burrell told the Daily Mirror.

``I knew it was not what Diana would have wanted. With that act, her brother was depriving the princess of her proper status in life - a status of which she was proud,'' he told the newspaper.

He added: ``It seemed it had more to do with his Spencer v Windsor war than doing what Diana would have wanted.

``After his anti-monarchy speech from the pulpit at Westminster Abbey, this was the Earl's final insult at the worst of times. It was inappropriate and disrespectful.''

A source close to the Earl confirmed that the flags had been changed. ``I believe the coffin was covered in a Spencer flag once it had arrived at Althorp,'' the source said. The source added that it was done with the consent of Princes Charles, William and Harry. They ``would have been absolutely content'' for this to happen, the source said.

In the latest in a series of interviews with the Daily Mirror, Mr Burrell, 44, also told of the moment he heard that Diana had been involved in a car accident.

He called her mobile: ``I knew the princess never left her mobile anywhere,'' he said. ``I was convinced about getting a reply. But it rang and rang and rang.''

Later, he received a telephone call from the Prince of Wales from Balmoral: ``He told me, `Her Majesty is very concerned about you Paul, as are William and Harry','' Mr Burrell said.

Mr Burrell's comments were the second attack on the Spencer family in as many days.

He has also accused Earl Spencer of being a ``hypocrite'' and said his ``stomach churned'' as he listened to the Earl's eulogy at Diana's 1997 funeral in Westminster Abbey.

And in a clear reference to Earl Spencer's decision to charge the public to visit Diana's grave on an island in a lake at Althorp, near Northampton, he added: ``And I, for one, would never have paraded her life before a museum and charged pounds 10.50 a time.''

The Earl refused to be drawn on Mr Burrell's comments yesterday, as he unveiled a plaque in Diana's memory in Northampton.

He told about 100 people at the unveiling ceremony that he was ``deeply proud'' of his sister.

Meanwhile, Diana's former bodyguard attacked some of Mr Burrell's claims. Ken Wharfe disclosed that Diana had called him her ``rock'' and also used the term for her chef, her chauffeur and her secretary. His main criticism was of Mr Burrell's claim that he had a three-hour meeting with the Queen But Royal sources said the meeting between Mr Burrell and the Queen, had lasted for ``at least 90 minutes''.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 8, 2002
Words:519
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