Drag Race star and former royal butler’s unlikely bond: ‘I’m his gay best friend’

Drag Race UK star Ella Vaday has spoken out about striking up a wonderfully unlikely friendship with Princess Diana’s former butler and it’s everything we needed in a rather bleak January.

During a raunchy appearance on ITV1’s The Real Full Monty: Jingle Balls, the Drag Race UK season three alumni – whose out-of-drag name is Nick Collier – said he found himself forging an unlikely bond with former royal butler Paul Burrell.

“I wasn’t sure I would get one with someone like Paul, but we absolutely did,” Collier told OK Magazine.

“We had a bromance!”

During the OK Magazine interview, the 35-year-old Drag Race star opened up about hitting it off almost immediately with Burrell during his appearance on the cancer awareness programme, in which he appeared naked alongside TOWIE legends Gemma Collins and Pete Wicks, among others.

“I got on brilliantly with Paul,” Collier said. “I love him to bits. He only came out a few years ago and I felt like his gay best friend.

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“We could take the p**s out of each other. Any time he was being stupid, I’d just be like, ‘Oh, Paul, shut up!'”

Collier recalled the time she, Paul, and rugby player Ben Cohen – another host on the show – went to the Admiral Duncan, an LGBTQ+ pub in Soho, and had the “best night ever”.

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“Paul had never been there and we had a few drinks,” he continued.

The 65-year-old former servant of the British royal household worked as a butler the royals until Princess Diana’s death in 1997.

He was reportedly described by the late princess as “her rock” and “the only man she ever trusted”.

Since retiring from his role as a butler, Burrell has made numerous TV appearances, most recently joining other celebrities in the 2023 edition of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!

He appeared on the Christmas programme alongside Collier after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2023 and subsequently being given the all-clear in November 2023.

The Drag Race UK star, on the other hand, said he decided to dedicate the show to his mother, who had been diagnosed with cancer in 2021 – 10 years after battling thyroid cancer.

Thankfully, Collier said his 59-year-old mother had beaten the disease after chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a mastectomy.

On appearing in the all-star, all-naked show, the FITTI workout creator shared that while initially nervous to take part, he was thankful that he did.

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“It was daunting going into a show with people I’ve been watching on TV long before I was on TV myself,” Collier explained. “But I had so much fun.”

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