Butler: Diana Planned Move to Malibu

ByABC News via logo
October 29, 2003, 10:24 AM

Oct. 29 -- Princess Diana had been planning to start a new life in California just before she died and had already picked out a home in Malibu for herself and her two sons, her former butler says.

Paul Burrell, who reveals many of Diana's intimate secrets in his new book, A Royal Duty, says the princess hoped to find comfort and freedom in America. He said she wanted to move into actress Julie Andrews' old home along with Prince William and Prince Harry.

"A lovely house saw all the plans for it. It was going to be in Malibu," Burrell said today in an interview with Charlie Gibson on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.

"I saw the plans," he said. "We sat on the floor, spread out all the maps and the layout of the house."

Burrell said the princess thought she and her sons would have a better life in California.

"She said, 'This is our new life, just won't it be great, think of the lifestyle the boys nobody's judgmental here in America, you don't have the class system, you don't have the establishment,' " Burrell said.

The ex-butler says he believed the princess's plans were very realistic. The princess shared custody of the boys with their father, Prince Charles, and William and Harry are second and third in line to the throne, but Burrell says the royal family wouldn't have tried to stop her.

"She's [Princess Diana] not going to be king. Neither are her kids going to be queens. Why couldn't they come and spend a portion of their time in America? That would be very stiff and staunchy if the queen would say, 'No, they can't go to America,' " Burrell said.

But as the princess was looking forward to a sunnier life in Malibu, according to Burrell, she was still suffering on the inside.The former butler said Diana continued to battle with bulimia up until her death.

"No, it's a difficult thing to shake off. It reoccurs. It comes back. I just witnessed it, I saw it comes back," he said.

Burrell said the princess struggled with the eating disorder during particularly stressful moments of her life.