London, Jan 10 : British intelligence spied on Princess Diana and recorded the sensational Squidgygate tapes, the inquest into her death has revealed.
Diana's former bodyguard Ken Wharfe told the jury that the tapes, in which the princess was speaking intimately with an alleged lover, were recorded by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ ) and purposely leaked over the public airwaves.
He also said that the UK spy agency regularly bugged and taped Diana and other members of the royal family, according to Warfe, who served as a bodyguard to the princess from 1987 to 1993.
A tape of a 1989 New Year's Eve conversation between Diana and James Gilbey contained a half-hour of pillow talk, wherein Gilbey repeatedly told her, "I love you" and called her by the pet name "Squidgy" 53 times.
According to Warfe, the recording was made by the UK government's top secret monitoring station and then continuously broadcast until picked up by ham radio enthusiasts. The hams then turned the tapes over to the media.
"It's my belief this internal recording was probably made by GCHQ. They probably had a good reason for doing it. I believe they were monitoring members of the Royal Family because of heightened IRA activity at the time. "For some unknown reason this conversation is released on a loop to allow radio scanners to pick them up," the Telegraph quoted him, as saying.
Warfe further revealed that royal family members were jealous of Diana's popularity and that she believed private secretaries to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were "sharpening their knives" against her.
Wharfe said the princess was aware that her conversations were being recorded, that she was not "paranoid" and she discussed it in a "light-hearted" manner.
"Diana was more concerned purely from an embarrassment point of view that this was in the public domain," he said.
Wharfe, 59, also revealed that the Queen was "unhappy" after the details from the tapes emerged and ordered an investigation into the fiasco.
"I remember Diana saying to me that the Queen personally was dissatisfied with what had happened, and the consequences of that, and had herself instituted an inquiry. The Queen would get an answer, I'm sure," he said.
Diana's flirtatious conversation happened on New Year's Eve 1989, while she was staying with the Queen at Sandringham.