Diana's Secret Tapes Forced
Charles To Admit He Is At
Center Of Royal Scandal

By Gordon Thomas

Prince Charles' aides panicked him into revealing he is at the centre of a serious allegation - after the aides learned intimate details still exist on one of seven video tapes Princess Diana made before her death six years ago.
The tapes were filmed at her request by a former BBC cameraman. Last week, he was interviewed by a senior MI6 officer at his home in California.
Afterwards, he broke six years of self-imposed silence to disclose all he knows about the tapes in an exclusive interview.
His revelations are guaranteed to escalate the crisis now engulfing the Royal Family.
"I was told by the intelligence officer that the tapes involve important matters for not just Charles, but the entire Royal Family. I cannot therefore say where the tapes are today. But they have definitely not been destroyed," he said.
Sir Michael Peat, the prince's private secretary, learned last Thursday that the tapes still exist.
Charles was immediately informed when he arrived in Oman. Next day, he issued his unprecedented denial to try and end mounting speculation about the incident.
The cameraman said he was told the tapes were stored in a bank vault in the United States.
Diana's former butler, Paul Burrel, has denied "they are anything to do with me".
This week, Royal legal advisers will explore how they can recover the videos that not only contain intimate details of Diana's marriage to Charles - but also deal with his relationship with Michael Fawcett.
Last week, Fawcett failed to keep his own name secret after the High Court in London refused to continue his injunction for privacy.
Prior to the four day court battle, a senior courtier at Clarence House had leaked to a Sunday national newspaper last week that the videos had been destroyed.
It was the opening shot in a desperate effort to avert the now burgeoning Royal scandal - culminating in the prince's extraordinary denial that no British newspaper can legally reveal what the allegation is based on.
Lurid details of the allegation are now widely published on the Internet. European and American media are planning to publish their versions of an allegation that no British newspaper can yet report.
That was the final reason the former BBC cameraman agreed to talk.
"I feel it important people in Britain know the facts. Then they can judge for themselves whether Sir Michael Peat's statement can be the final word," he said.
He requested his name and whereabouts in California should not be identified. His identity is known to this newspaper and his request will be respected.
"I have seen too many media feeding frenzies to be part of this one. I just wish to set the record straight on certain matters.
"There were seven tapes, not twenty as reported. They were shot on a camera Diana provided. My job was to set-up the technical side, framing and lighting.
"She retained the tapes. She told me she was placing them in a bank vault in America. I understand a close friend in New York arranged this.
"I believe the tapes still remain in the vault. I have made a statement about all this to the intelligence officer so that it can be given to the appropriate persons advising Charles."
The cameraman said he had "probably been offered the film job because I was known as a safe pair of hands. I had also worked on several Royal-related films for the Beeb and knew the form."
From time to time, he consulted notes he had made at the time of filming to refresh his memory. He spoke in a soft, modulated accent. It was agreed he would not be recorded.
"This is a one-off. I'm doing no more interviews," he said at the outset.
This is what the cameraman said are on the Diana tapes.
"She describes the incident that is now at the centre of what is happening. She spoke of her concern about Charles relationship with Fawcett. She believed it played an important part in the end of her marriage.
"She was very calm and factual. The only time I sensed her pain was when she spoke of Camilla Parker-Bowles. On one tape, she talks of catching Charles and Camilla de flagrante. She reveals that she had listened in to their phone sex talk. She said that Camilla was the raunchier of the two.
"On another tape she spoke of how she had pleaded with Charles to give up Camilla for the sake of the children.
"Diana said she had asked Princess Anne and Prince Andrew to help. She said they refused to lift a finger.
"But time and again, she came back to Fawcett. She described how she came across he and Charles whispering to each other in Palace corridors (Kensington Palace). Several times, she said she didn't like the way he seemed to dominate Charles, not just in a physical way, but mentally also.
"On one video, she spoke at length about sexual goings on among the Royal Household staff. She claimed Charles tolerated it. I made a note after one video filming that she spoke of one staff party being like something out of Caligula."
The cameraman described how he came to be asked to work on the film.
"In February 1997, I was approached by a former colleague at the BBC. He explained that Diana was not happy with the BBC Panorama interview with Martin Bashir and wished to make her own film. I was asked if I was interested. A fee of £5,000 was mentioned. A few days later, I was in Kensington Palace, in the same room where Bashir had done his famous ëthree in a bed' interview with Diana.
"Diana explained she would not need me to ask any questions to prompt her and she said she had been coached in how to face a camera.
"From the start, she was very professional. All I had to do was supervise the camera. She would talk into it. There would be no "cutaways' or what are known in TV as ëbridging shots'. She said that after each video I would check its quality and hand it to her. There would be no other copy made.
"The first filming took place in early March 1997. I arrived by taxi at Kensington Palace. She was waiting for me in the drawing room. I set up the camera and positioned the chair on which she sat. It was like doing a home movie, a video diary. I used the room lights.
"The first video runs for an hour. The others, I recall, were a little shorter. The last one was about 40 minutes and dealt with her hopes for the children.
"At the end of the final session, she handed me an envelope. It contained my full fee in cash."
The cameraman emphatically denied reports that the tapes were the ones which had been seized from Paul Burrel's home in Cheshire two years ago.
"Whoever was involved in those tapes, it was not me. Burrel was not there when I worked with Diana. Also the report that Diana was emotional when filming is not true. She was very calm and knew exactly what she wanted to say. There were no hesitations or retakes. It was a very professional performance," he said.
"I asked her what she planned to do with the tapes. She smiled and said ëkeep them in a safe place', something like that. I later learned they had been couriered to a close friend in New York to place in a bank vault. I am told the tapes still exist."
The decision to involve the secret intelligence service came after high-level discussions in Whitehall.
"While the tapes are unlikely to have any bearing on national security, their contents have a direct bearing on the Royal Family and it is the duty of the security service to protect the Crown," said a source.
The world's foremost private detective, Julius Kroll, will be asked to help Prince Charles recover the videos.
On returning to Britain, Charles was told by Royal lawyers that they could mount a successful case to reclaim the tapes as they form part of Diana's copyright over which Princes William and Harry could now claim full rights.
Prince William and Camilla Parker-Bowles, key members of the crisis management team Charles set up before he flew home from Oman, will also urge him to have an urgent meeting with Britain's two security chiefs to explore what one Royal insider has called "a plot to destabilise the entire Royal Family".
Both Sir Richard Dearlove, head of MI6, and Eliza Manningham-Buller, director of MI5, have already indicated in briefings to Downing Street that "the sustained campaign of smears" is already having a world wide effect on the Royal Family.
Kroll and his team of high-priced detectives - the firm charges Stg £1,000 an hour upwards - have been employed by governments all over the world to discover the hidden secrets of the powerful and notorious.
The US government used them to uncover the whereabouts of billions of dollars hidden by Philippine's president Ferdinand Marco and his wife, Imelda. The Haitian government asked Kroll to trace even more billions laundered through world banks by the island's former dictator, Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.
Currently the agency is helping to locate Saddam Hussein's secret fortune.
The 62 year-old super detective has investigated the late newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell who stole his staffs' pensions.




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