Princess Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, has complained to the Press Complaints Commission over a News of the World splash headlined: “I Had Sex With Diana”.
Burrell’s lawyer has lodged a formal complaint with the PCC over the front-page story on 15 June, which continued across two double-page spreads inside the paper.
Media law specialist David Price said the piece, which is still visible on the News of the World website, had been “repeated throughout the world’s media” and picked up by Google News.
The source of the story was Burrell’s brother-in-law, Ron Cosgrove, who claimed the butler had confided in him over a conversation in a pub in 1993 that he was having an affair with the princess.
Price claimed the paper had failed to investigate Cosgrove’s claims and had not put the story to Burrell before publishing it. The complaint to the PCC is being made under clause 1 (accuracy).
“The News of the World did not have sufficiently credible evidence to publish a story of this kind with such prominence,” Price said.
“Its only interest was to publish a salacious and sensational story about Princess Diana.”
A PCC spokesman confirmed it had received a complaint and was now investigating. A News of the World spokeswoman said the paper had yet to receive any correspondence from the PCC.