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Diana, Her Family Didn't Get Along, Butler Tells Newspaper

Princess Diana cut off contact with her mother after an angry telephone call over relationships with Muslim men, and the princess did not get along with the rest of her family, former royal butler Paul Burrell was quoted as saying Thursday.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Burrell also said he had taken some of Diana's papers after her death to prevent anyone her relatives, the Spencers, from using them to hurt the royal family.

"The Spencers found Diana unacceptable in life. But after her death they found her very acceptable at £10.50 [about $16] a ticket," Burrell said, referring to the admission price charged visitors to Diana's childhood home and burial place.

A spokesman for the Spencer family said they would not be making any comment on Burrell's interview in the Daily Mirror, which reportedly paid $620,000 for exclusive rights.

Burrell — whom Diana called "my rock" — was acquitted Friday of stealing more than 300 items from the princess and other members of the royal family.

His trial came to a dramatic end when Queen Elizabeth II told prosecutors Burrell had informed her in a 1997 meeting that he was holding some of Diana's belongings for safekeeping.

Burrell said his trial was a result of feuding between the Spencers and the royal Windsor family.

"I knew that, with my case, I was being caught in the crossfire between the Windsors and the Spencers. There is no love lost between the two families," Burrell was quoted as saying.

"So maybe now people might see that certain documents and paperwork that I took for safekeeping could have been used as potential damage against the Windsors — and that wasn't going to happen."

Burrell said Diana cut off contact with her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, following a telephone call in which Shand Kydd criticized the princess for her friendships with Muslim men.

"It was a hate-filled, personal attack on the type of men the princess surrounded herself with and their religious beliefs," said Burrell, who said Diana had asked him to listen to the call.

"What I heard was a torrent of abuse, swearing and upsetting innuendo towards the princess and towards the male company she was keeping," Burrell was quoted as saying.

Diana finally slammed down the telephone, and did not speak to her mother again in the last six months of her life.

Diana's relationships with Muslim men included Dodi Fayed, son of Mohamed Al Fayed, the Egyptian-born owner of Harrods department store. Dodi Fayed died along with Diana in a 1997 car crash in Paris.

Burrell said Diana had a relationship with Dr. Hasnant Khan, a cardiac surgeon, and begged him to marry her.

Shand Kydd testified at Burrell's trial, scorning his claim to special status as Diana's "rock."

"It is a term which she used for many people," Shand Kydd testified Oct. 24. "She called me her `rock and star.'"

Still, Shand Kydd confirmed that she and her daughter had stopped speaking — she dated the breach from four months before Diana's death. But she denied criticizing Diana's taste in men.

Burrell also criticized Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, who made a speech at her funeral implicitly attacking the royal family.

"My heart ached for the queen and my stomach turned over knowing the things he had done to Diana in life," Burrell was quoted as saying.

Testimony at Burrell's trial indicated Diana had asked her brother if she could live at the family home after the breakup of her marriage to Prince Charles, but Spencer refused.