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Butler: Diana had 9 'gentleman friends'

Diana, Burrell
Diana and Burrell are seen in this 1997 photo.

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LONDON, England -- Princess Diana had nine secret "gentleman friends" including a Hollywood star, a sports legend, a leading musician and a famous politician, according to her butler.

Other men trying to win the affections of the princess following her divorce from Prince Charles included an entrepreneur, a billionaire, a lawyer and a novelist, Paul Burrell says in a new book.

But none of the suitors are named by Burrell, whose book "A Royal Duty" is being serialized in the Daily Mirror newspaper.

The princess graded her suitors by using a racing "trap" system, and joked at the number of men in the field by saying "sometimes ... the racecourse was getting a bit crowded."

Burrell writes: "She controlled the position of her gentleman friends. We called it the `trap' system as if the men were competitors on a racetrack.

"The occupant of trap one never changed. He remained in pole position in the princess's eyes."

The man in pole position was Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, whom she met when she visited a heart transplant patient at Brompton Hospital in London, Burrell told U.S. television network ABC.

Burrell said Diana and the surgeon were "two very like-minded people, two people who wanted to go out into the world and help others, two humanitarians," but that eventually Khan had broken off their relationship.

She was alarmed at the thought that Dodi Fayed might propose, Burrell said.

The two later died in a car crash in a Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997. Three photographers go on trial in Paris on Friday for allegedly taking photos of the inside of the wreckage. (Full Story)

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