Max Clifford denies breaching former royal butler Paul Burrell's confidentiality by passing personal details to News of the World

 

Max Clifford, the king of Fleet Street’s kiss-and-tell market, has denied claims by the former royal butler Paul Burrell that he breached his confidentiality by passing personal details about him to the News of the World.

The claims by Mr Burrell - once known as Princess Diana's “rock” - are an “affront to common sense”, Mr Clifford said in a statement issued by his solicitor.

Mr Burrell alleges that personal secrets were passed to a senior executive at the News of the World. His lawyer Mark Lewis confirmed that papers will be lodged at the High Court alleging breach of confidentiality by Mr Clifford.

“The claims made by Mr Burrell have no merit. His allegations are opportunistic and are denied,” said Mr Clifford’s statement.

“It is an affront to common sense to suggest that Mr Burrell, who has sold stories to the newspapers, made countless appearances on TV and has even written a book about his dealings with the royal family, now feels able to claim that any information he provided was confidential.

”We will defend these claims in court and will be asking the judge at the earliest opportunity to strike out these claims as having no prospect of success and an abuse of process.“

Mr Clifford, who was arrested last week by Operation Yewtree following allegations of sexual offences – which he denies absolutely – was hired by Mr Burrell a decade ago to limit bad press coverage. But Mr Burrell’s claim is that rather than stopping stories, the publicist passed information on to the now-defunct News of the World.

The claim focuses on the period when the former butler was at the centre of the biggest royal story since the death of Diana, following his arrest and subsequent prosecution for stealing items belonging to the princess. When the case against Mr Burrell collapsed in November 2002 after the personal intervention of the Queen, his insider knowledge on the royal family sparked a vicious bargaining war between national tabloid newspapers for his story.

Mr Burrell’s claim describes a hand-written letter by him to Mr Clifford when the two men first met. The letter was later faxed to the office of a senior NOTW executive.

Paul Burrell worked for the royal family for 21 years, beginning as an 18 year-old footman at Buckingham Palace in 1976.  In 1987 he was appointed butler to Prince and Princess of  Wales at their country residence in Highgrove. When the couple separated in 1992, he moved with Princess Diana to her residence in Kensington Palace. In August 2001 Mr Burrell was charged with stealing hundreds of items that had belonged to Princess Diana, the thefts said to have taken place after her death in 1997.

At the initial trial in October 2002, the jury was discharged. But in November 2002  during the second trial, Mr Burrell was acquitted of all the charges against him after the Queen is said to have intervened personally by offering new insight into what the royal butler had told her.

However in the run-in to the trial, Mr Burrell was concerned about the way he was being portrayed in the media and contacted Max Clifford. 

Mr Burrell wrote Mr Clifford a six-page letter describing his relationship with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, detailing personal gifts he received from them and the Queen’s interest in his family and help after an accident.

Mr Burrell is claiming that the letter was confidential and “inherently private”; Mr Clifford denies all of Mr Burrell’s claims and says they are without merit, adding that any information Mr Burrell provided could not be considered confidential given his prolific dealings with the media.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
tvGame of Thrones season 5 episode 1 review
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
News
i100
News
people
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Sport
Fabian Delph celebrates his goal
footballChristian Benteke and Fabian Delph turn semi-final after Liverpool goal
Life and Style
Model wears: top £29.50, leggings £25, jacket £29.50, bag £25, all marksandspencer.com
fashion
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary
music
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace