paul-burrell1

Paul Burrell to marry boyfriend following divorce from wife last year

by Gemma Strong

Former royal butler Paul Burrell is set to tie the knot with his boyfriend Graham Cooper next month. The 58-year-old, who worked for Princess Diana and was known as her 'rock', will marry partner Graham in an intimate ceremony in the Lake District in April. The news comes one year after Paul divorced his wife Maria after 32 years of marriage. The former couple, parents to two grown-up sons, had been living apart for some time, with Maria, 62, in Florida and her husband running a flower shop in Wrexham, and later Cheshire.

CLICK TO VIEW GALLERY

paul-burrell

Paul Burrell will marry partner Graham Cooper in the Lake District next month

STORY: Zandra Rhodes talks friendship with Princess Diana

The wedding announcement is the first public acknowledgment of Paul's sexuality. A statement released last June on behalf of Paul and Maria confirmed they were "currently going through a divorce". It added: "The decision to file for divorce was a mutual one. Paul and Maria remain the best of friends and have two wonderful sons who remain their priority." It is thought that both Alexander, 27, and Nicholas, 24, who live in Florida with their mother, will fly over to attend the wedding ceremony.

It's not known how long Paul and Graham, a lawyer, have been together. The couple, who share a home, were both listed as directors of a company in 2011. They were also pictured side by side in 2014 while at the Blackberry creek Retreat Bed & Breakfast in Missouri.

paul-burrell-wife-sons

Paul's ex-wife Maria and their sons Alexander and Nicholas pictured in 2004

Paul was formerly a footman to the Queen and later Princess Diana’s private butler for 10 years. He once claimed that the princess described him as "the only man I ever trusted". He met Maria while working at Buckingham Palace and they were married in 1983. Speaking last year to the Sunday Mirror, Paul said: "I still love my wife. Marrying her was the best thing in my life, and to witness the boys being born – nothing compares. It's sad when people part, but it happens a lot."

STORY: Princess Diana to be remembered on National Kindness Day

More on: