A close friend of Princess Diana reacted angrily when ABC News informed her that the reputed secret burial of her stillborn child in a private garden at Kensington Palace in 1994 had been included in a new book by Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell.
Rosa Monckton said she had been out of town this week and had not heard that Burrell had written about the reported burial incident until ABC News' London bureau told her. Her first reaction was, "I'm utterly appalled." Monckton went on to call Burrell "unbelievable" and added, "I'm so angry."
She would not comment on the reported secret palace ceremony itself and fell silent for several seconds. Then Monckton said that if she said anything else, "I will just burst into tears," adding that "I do not want to speak about this further."
It is the most sensational backlash yet over the latest claims about the private life of Princess Diana and those close to her.
As his new book, "The Way We Were," goes on sale, former Kensington Palace butler Burrell faces a storm of criticism.
In the book, Burrell wrote about how he'd helped Diana bury Monckton's child on the private grounds of the palace.
In promoting his book, however, Burrell has run into some embarrassing hostility.
During a live British television appearance on ITV1's "This Morning," presenter Phillip Schofield accused Burrell of cashing in on Diana's memory.
"It would appear," Schofield said, "that you were her rock, but now she's your pension."
Burrell had already told ABC News' Kate Snow on "Good Morning America" that he had written his second book about the princess because he wanted to tell the truth about the person she was.
He said, "I'm still in that corner waving my flag. Who else is? The royal family [isn't], her ex-husband isn't ... and sadly, her children aren't."
That apparent taunt at Princes William and Harry has angered many in the British media who still regard Diana's sons as deserving of privacy concerning their mother.
In the ITV1 interview, Burrell defended his comments about the princes failing to "wave the flag" in their mother's memory.
"I expect them to, yes," he said. "I didn't attack them. I didn't say anything bad about William and Harry. I wouldn't do that. I have two boys of my own."
One viewer of ITV1's program found Burrell less than sincere, phoning in to call the ex-butler's actions "totally disgusting."
"Mr. Burrell should let Diana's memory rest in peace. I think he should go out and get himself a job like the rest of us. He should think of her two boys, who she loved, instead of his bank balance," she said.
As for the mention in his book that he helped bury Monckton's baby, whom she had conceived with husband Dominic Lawson, Burrell was not actually revealing anything new. The story of the 1994 burial first appeared in the British news in 2002.
It appears, from what is known, that there was nothing improper or illegal about the burial.
It has been widely reported that a Catholic priest, the Rev. Alexander Sherbrooke, was present at the burial.
ABC News has learned that Sherbrooke is currently on retreat in Austria and unavailable for comment.
The Rev. Allen Morris, secretary to the Department of Christian Life and Worship at the Catholic Bishops Conference in London, said, "It is perfectly legal to take place in private grounds."
He added that if Sherbrooke presided over the funeral, that it would have been with the Catholic church's permission.
Jeremy Smith, owner of London's Abbey Funeral Directors, told ABC News, "You can bury someone anywhere, with consent of the landowner and environment officers for the borough -- because of the water table -- and so long as it is recorded on deeds for the property." Smith added, "It must not be consecrated ground, though, and if it is, one needs a faculty from the C. of E. [Church of England]."
Smith said he has done one or two burials in gardens over the years.
So, why has Burrell chosen to mention the garden burial in his book?
He wrote that, for him, the act was just more proof of the nobility of the woman he called "the boss."
"What I witnessed was the ultimate act of compassion and friendship, which I think reflects greatly on the boss and sums up her humanity. Acts of kindness don't get much bigger than this."
According to the book, Diana told Burrell that if anyone asked him why he and fellow butler Harold Brown were digging a 5-foot-deep hole in the palace's backyard, they should say that friends of Diana's were burying a pet.
Diana even helped with the digging after she came out and found him with blistered hands and covered with mud, Burrell said.
"'Let me help,' she said, and jumped in and took the spade as I climbed out. She put her back into it, for about 10 spades' worth of soil tossed on to the bank -- she wanted to do her bit," he wrote.
Burrell adds that the grave took six hours to dig, with himself, Brown and the princess each doing their part.
"That evening, the princess examined it with me," Burrell wrote. "She stood in silence, staring into it, lost in her thoughts. When she looked up, her eyes were brimming with tears, but she smiled in the knowledge that everything had gone to plan. In those few quiet moments in the garden, I sensed how important this task was to her."
Burrell wrote about a small ceremony, with just six people around the grave, and after the child's parents left, he and Diana returned to fill in the grave.
It was then that she told him, according to the book, "The only problem ... is that people will find this baby one day and say it was mine."
"She spoke it as though it was a sad inevitability, one more aspect of her life that would be misunderstood," Burrell wrote. "Perhaps that is another reason why this story should be told."
Ingrid Seward, editor in chief of Majesty magazine, said to ABC News of the burial, "I definitely think it's true, mad though it sounds, although this is not new."
"I think it's extremely cheeky of Burrell to say he's the one keeping her memory alive. He's keeping it alive for his own ends. I'm sure the princes think he's the lowest of the low," Seward said.
Clarence House, who speaks for Prince Charles and his sons, had no comment.
Additional reporting by Laura Westmacott and Aparnaa Seshadri.