More of Princess Di’s Alleged Phone Tape Played


New extracts from a tape of an alleged conversation between Princess Diana and her friend James Gilbey were broadcast Monday with intimate passages that could further damage the Royal Family’s reputation.

The release of the previously “missing” taped extracts prompted renewed speculation that government agencies may have bugged the phone of the Princess of Wales.

The playing of the tapes, and an Australian television program’s claim that they were authentic, also could influence voters who support Prime Minister Paul Keating’s recommendation that Australia should no longer recognize Queen Elizabeth II as chief of state.


Australia’s “Four Corners” TV news program said it obtained the more complete version of the tape from an unnamed source in Britain; the source reportedly was not paid and was said not to be acting with political motives.

James Rusbridger--a former member of the British security service known as MI-5--said on the broadcast that the government has an entire department devoted to monitoring royal conversations. He said there was a determined effort to make the princess’ exchanges public, possibly by a disaffected civil servant.

In the tapes, reference is made to a British program airing that day--New Year’s Eve, 1989; that fact is key because a radio amateur, who earlier claimed he had recorded the royal conversation and sold it to the daily Sun, asserted that his taping occurred a few days later.

This has led to wide speculation that the government had taped the conversation (in which a couple engages in intimate discussions, with the man, at one point, reassuring his female caller that she will not get pregnant) and that someone then rebroadcast it so the chat could be picked up by amateurs who monitor the airwaves.

The Prince and Princess of Wales formally separated in December. Diana was leaving Monday for a Nepal tour, which, because it shows her taking on official duties, is supposed to boost her reputation within the Royal Family.