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Job market's hot for Diana's butler

Hollywood stars and British celebrities are scrambling to offer Princess Diana's former butler a job now that he has been fired from the charity set up in her memory.

Paul Burrell says he will spend the holiday with his wife, Maria, and their two children contemplating his future and studying job offers.

"I have lots of celebrity friends and they will not see me out of a job," he said.

Stars including Tom Cruise, Elizabeth Taylor, Elton John, Angela Lansbury, as well as the Duchess of York, asked to be kept informed of every development as Burrell's long-term future at the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund became increasingly bleak.

Shortly after the death of the princess, Cruise and his wife, Nicole Kidman, offered Burrell a job in their household. He became an overnight sensation as some stars saw him as a status symbol, but in the end Burrell chose to continue serving the woman who called him her "rock" by working for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

"I am not sure which job I will take," Burrell said. "If Mr. Cruise wants me to fulfill a role in his household, well, times have changed and I will be considering all offers which come my way.

"I haven't got a job and I need to pay my mortgage. It is as simple as that. If I have to move abroad, then that is something else I will consider."

Burrell declined to name which celebrities had offered him a job or in what capacity.

Lansbury is another fan of the former butler. She is sponsoring Burrell for the Los Angeles marathon in March next year and he will probably stay at her home as her guest.

"My fund-raising days are not over," Burrell said. "I will continue to run in marathons and raise money for charities. That side of me won't change."

In recent weeks it began to emerge that Burrell was not happy with his role in the memorial fund. Attempts were made to change his job description and this led to clashes with other members of the staff and the trustees.

He was unhappy that Diana's name and signature was used on a tub of margarine and preferred to raise money through marathons, sponsorships and other conventional ways. He was personally responsible for raising more than $1.6-million for the fund.

But others linked to the fund did not like his high profile. In March, he was the center of attention when he made a speech in Hollywood about the woman he had served for nine years. The Beverly Hills function was a sellout at $50,000 a ticket. But it became clear that Burrell, 40, could no longer continue working for the fund.

After the charity event in March, Taylor invited Burrell to her home to watch the Oscar ceremony because she was too ill to attend. The pair sat in the star's bedroom for hours talking and watching the awards on television.

Richard Southby, whose ADS Recruitment Domestic Services agency provides butlers for the rich and famous, said: "I am not surprised the stars are queuing up for Paul Burrell when you consider his pedigree. Americans love English butlers anyway. They are seen as a great status symbol and someone with his background would be highly prized."