The bitter row between ex-royal butler Paul Burrell and Buckingham Palace was close to boiling point today, as his controversial new book hit the high street.
The royal household was bracing itself for any more revelations in A Royal Duty, based on the former servant’s time with Diana, Princess of Wales.
Shocked by extracts already serialised, Princes William and Harry launched a scathing attack on Mr Burrell accusing him of betraying their mother.
But today, Mr Burrell fuelled the war of words by saying he would like to give the young princes “a piece of my mind” and told them to “grow up”.
And the feud was set to deepen with Mr Burrell this morning launching a whirlwind of interviews to defend his book both at home and abroad.
He has defiantly refused to apologise for his revelations but revealed he would never have written the book had he received a call from the Royal Family after the collapse of his theft trial at the Old Bailey last year.
“Just one telephone call would have stopped it, one. Is that too much to ask - really?,” he told BBC One’s Real Story.
He denied the book was his revenge but admitted it would have been “a very different world” had he received a phone call from the princes.
There is still no indication of whether a meeting between Mr Burrell and the royal brothers will take place, despite both sides agreeing to one.
A spokeswoman for the princes stressed any meeting would be a private affair while a spokesman for Mr Burrell said they had heard nothing more.
In the BBC interview, to be broadcast tonight, Mr Burrell said he was angry with the princes but claimed they were being used as “emotional cannons” by the “grey men in suits” at the Palace.
“Why listen to people who always say yes and no-one tells you no? I’d love to give them a piece of my mind,” he said.
But he also said it was time for the princes to “grow up” and stressed they were just children when their mother was alive while he “lived in an adult world with the Princess”.
On Friday the princes said the revelations were a “cold and overt betrayal” of their mother, who would have been “mortified”.
The book is partly based on letters allegedly to and from Diana.
Extracts serialised in the Daily Mirror last week included claims Diana feared a plot to kill her in a car accident, 10 months before her death, and the Duke of Edinburgh allegedly writing to say he did not approve of the Prince of Wales’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
In a letter allegeldy written the month of her death, Diana told Burrell she was looking forward to “happier times” and thanked him for keeping her sane, the Mirror reported today.
The extract in the newspaper states: “…Your support, as always, has been invaluable and kept me sane during some of the nightmare times. Now, the tide is changing and we can all now have peace of mind and look forward to happier times and different homes!
“Thank you Paul, for being such a tower of strength.”
Mr Burrell has reportedly claimed the letters are just the “tip of the iceberg”.
Up to 135,000 copies of A Royal Duty were hitting book stores across the country this morning, although a spokeswoman for Clarence House said she doubted the young princes would be asking for copies.
Around one million copies went on sale in America on Saturday, but it was too early to say how many had been sold, publisher Penguin said.
Mr Burrell will spend the next two days doing a round of interviews defending his book, starting with BBC’s Radio FiveLive and the Today programme this morning.
He would not be holding any press conferences or book launches, the Penguin spokeswoman said.
He is due to fly out to America later in the week for a fortnight of promotions.
The book has sparked mixed reactions from royal watchers and those close to the Palace.
Yesterday, friend of Diana, Vivienne Parry, said William should put the former butler “back in his pantry”.