Written by Ronald Scaglia Friday, 28 September 2012 00:00
Last week, the New York Institute of Technology hosted three events in which Paul Burrell, who was the butler to Princess Diana, was the guest of honor. I attended one of these events, and was eager to do so as I have always found Diana to be a fascinating historical figure. Despite her fame and fortune, she gave of herself to help others who were suffering. She was an individual who was truly working to change the world for the better and tragically, she was taken from us much too soon. During his presentation, Burrell spoke of this.
“It’s better to give than to receive because when you give there are no strings attached,” Burrell recalls Diana saying.
However, despite my interest in learning more about Diana, it was actually something that Burrell said which I found most interesting and have decided to share with you. During his introduction, it was stated that when he was a boy, Burrell was brought to Buckingham Palace and declared that someday he would work there. As Burrell later explained, he grew up in a coal mining town so this would be similar to a boy from West Virginia growing up to work at the White House. Burrell studied hotel management in school, and upon graduation, applied to Buckingham Palace and a famous cruise ship line. Despite his proclamation that he would work at the palace, by that point in his life, Burrell said he was more interested in working for the cruise ship and enjoying a life at sea. It was at that point that fate, or more specifically his mother, stepped in.
One morning as she sorted through the mail, Burrell’s mom discovered a letter from Buckingham Palace and one from the cruise line. She made her other sons promise to not tell Paul about what she was about to do, and they never did until she passed on many years later. On that morning, Paul’s mother handed him the letter from the palace, and unbeknownst to him, tossed the letter from the cruise ship into a fire. Her justification was that she knew her son would take the position on the cruise line and she and the rest of the family would never see him again.
It could be argued that his mother really should have allowed him to make the decision, but Burrell says otherwise. He spoke the message that mothers really do know best and that nobody will love you like your mother. If Burrell’s mom hadn’t stepped in, he wouldn’t have enjoyed the extraordinary life that he has. He has handled the royal jewels and conversed with Queen Elizabeth while attending to her needs as she wore her crown on her head and fuzzy, pink slippers on her feet. He has met world leaders from across the globe, including President Reagan and First Lady Nancy, when they stayed at Buckingham Palace and Burrell waited on them. He recalls Reagan as a man who was a “gentle giant,” completely devoted to his wife. Pope John Paul II was another famous figure Burrell had the opportunity to meet. And, of course, there was his relationship with Diana, who referred to him as “the only man she ever trusted.” That relationship continued until her last breath on that awful August night when he went to the hospital and pleaded with her to wake up.
Burrel’s work also greatly affected his life personally. He met his wife while working at Buckingham Palace, as she was also on staff there. They honeymooned at Balmoral Castle and have two sons. All of which is because of his mother’s intervention.
Too often, children forget that their parents always have their best interest at heart, even if it seems they are just meddling. I spoke briefly with Burrell individually, and told him how touched I was by that story. He further elaborated that every year on June 6 he did not celebrate his birthday but instead sent his mother flowers and a card to thank her for bringing him into the world. When she passed on, Burrell’s recalls that his mother had one of those cards with her, indicating how much it meant to her. He then told me that nobody loves you like your mother, and does so unconditionally, and he then instructed me to go home and give my mother a hug and a kiss.
It’s amazing that a man who has met so many fascinating and influential people, still holds his mother above all of them. I think every now and then we need to realize how special our mothers, and for that matter our fathers and other family members, are. They look out for us and always seem to guide us in the right direction. So even though the calendar says September, it’s still a good time to say, “Happy Mother’s Day.”
Just ask Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell.
Ron Scaglia is the Special Sections editor of Anton Newspapers.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Wednesday, 03 September 2014 00:00
While this year’s New Hyde Park Street Fair takes place one day before the first official day of fall, the event keeps the spirit of summer alive a little longer for the 20,000-25,000 attendees.
Organizers are looking to up the ante for the 19th annual event on Saturday, Sept. 20, with the usual clowns and crafts supplemented by a petting zoo, pony rides and a new children’s carnival, from New Hyde Park-based Send in the Clowns.
“We try to capatilize on all the elements of the fair that work and modify ones that need work,” said New Hyde Park Village Board Research Assistant/Fair
Coordinator Janet Bevers. “The fair has been in place for 19 years now so in essence we follow a similar format. We invite all the village merchants to participate.”
The pony rides will be stationed near the Green Meadow Farms petting zoo on Lakeville Road, with the carnival setting up shop in the village’s Central Boulevard parking lot.
“It’s exciting to see a local company taking on a big piece of the fair,” Bevers said.
Fair reps expect at least 220 vendors to line the street fair this year. In the fair’s inaugural outing in 1995, just 90 craft vendors showed up.
“I think it’s one of the biggest events in Nassau County,” Queens-based Craft-A-Fair President Tony Ciuffo said. “The fair accentuates the local merchants.
Every year it gets more and more exciting. I expect new vendors this year. Around 25 percent of the vendors will be new this year.”
Each year, vendors rent space on the turnpike from New Hyde Park Road, continuing west to Covert Avenue. Last year, a few extra blocks were added near Lakeville Road.
Former trustee Florence Lisanti was one of the first organizers of the street fair, who trustee Donald Barbieri commended for leading the charge.
“[The fair] is a great day for the community,” he stated. “We’re proud to have all our local organizations along the turnpike. The merchants get to showcase what they do. We are very proud of the street fair.”
Local merchants, Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce members, charity and service groups can set up tables on the sidewalk free of charge, Bevers said.
“We view the fair as the premiere street fair on Long Island,” Bevers stated. “It goes about a square mile. The community feel to the fair is crucial. It’s a big fair and still retains its local charact
Last Updated (Wednesday, 27 August 2014 09:07) Saturday, 30 August 2014 00:00
Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.
Nassau County officials say Sewanhaka High School will receive a camera on Covert Avenue, which spans the eastern stretch of the property. Tulip Avenue runs in front of the high school and was also considered. Cameras could begin operation in September.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.
They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.
The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.
“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”