DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES snubbed great friend SIR Elton John after he upset the late British royal by including pictures of her and her sons in a book alongside snaps of naked men.

The princess's former butler, Paul Burrell, says both Diana and Elton suffered from "huge egos" that clashed when the CANDLE IN THE WIND crooner refused to remove the offending photo from the book.

Diana feared the steamy image would make her look cheap and was outraged when Elton refused to withdraw the 30,000 copies of the book from the shops they had already been sent to.

After the incident the two once close friends did not speak until the funeral of mutual friend fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1997.

Burrell tells Britain's THE DAILY MIRROR, "Elton had put together a book on Versace. The princess had agreed to put a picture of herself and the boys in it.

"Unfortunately when it came out the book was full of semi-naked men. The princess thought it was not appropriate for herself and the boys.

"She asked Elton if he could arrange for it to be taken out. She was adamant that it had to be withdrawn.

"He couldn't oblige, so the relationship went on the slide. After Versace died the princess had a facility to come back into Elton's world."

25/05/2003 11:03