Buckingham Palace swept for bugs

Buckingham Palace was regularly swept for bugging devices, Princess Diana’s inquest heard yesterday (12.02.08).

The queen’s former secretary Robert Fellowes told the jury at London’s High Court how checks were made to ensure conversations and phone calls by royal family members and staff remained confidential.

Fellowes, the most senior royal aide to have given evidence at the inquest into the deaths of Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed, said: “The rooms in which business was conducted by the queen and by her private secretaries was swept regularly.”

Referring to two previous leaked royal phone conversations, one by Diana and one by her ex-husband Prince Charles, Fellowes said: “We needed reassurance at regular intervals that there was no bugging going on.”

Diana – who had previously spoken of her fear about being bugged after her split from Charles – was killed in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997, along with Dodi and driver Henri Paul.

Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed, alleges that his son and Diana were killed by British security services on the orders of Charles’ father Prince Philip as they were about to announce their engagement.

He claims Fellowes, who is married to Diana’s sister Jane, was in Paris running the British embassy communications centre and sending messages to the secret services on the night Diana died in a high-speed car crash.

However, Fellowes denied these claims and insists he wasn’t even in the French capital on the fateful night. Lawyer for the inquest Ian Burnett told Fellowes: “It was being suggested that you were intimately concerned in the murder of your sister-in-law.”

Asked if he was in Paris that night, Fellowes told the court: “No.”

He explained he was watching a performance at a church hall in Norfolk on the night in question.