Arrests over phone-tap of British royal family

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Clarence House is a royal home in London, and is the official residence of The Prince of Wales, his second wife HRH the Duchess of Cornwall and his sons, the princes William and Harry of Wales.

Three people have been arrested over allegations that they intercepted calls made by staff in Clarence House, Prince Charles' household. Clive Goodman, royal editor for the tabloid newspaper News of the World, is one of three men who were last night detained by police following a probe by Scotland Yard lasting several weeks. It is alleged they listened to numerous voice mail messages made by members of Britain’s royal household.

All of the three men were questioned by police at Charing Cross police station in London, and police have confirmed this morning that a fifty year-old man has been released on bail. But a spokeswoman for the News International newspaper has said that Mr Goodman remains in custody with another unidentified man.

Scotland Yard had reportedly been told by staff at Clarence House that something suspicious was occurring. The Royal Protection Squad was therefore told to investigate the claims, and due to potential security implications, the anti-terrorist branch is also involved in the inquiry.

"Police launched an investigation after concerns were reported to the Met's Royalty Protection Department by members of the Royal Household at Clarence House," said a statement issued by Scotland Yard last night. "It is focused on alleged repeated security breaches within telephone networks over a significant period of time and the potential impact this may have around a number of individuals."

It has also emerged today that the investigation will look at whether a number of celebrities and Members of Parliament have had their phones tapped. "Police continue to work with the telephone companies concerned and continue to have their full support in attempting to identify any other person whose telephone may have been intercepted," Scotland Yard’s statement added.

This is not the first time that such phone hacking allegations surrounding the Royal Family have made the headlines. In 1993, a romantic call made late at night between Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall was made public, and in 1992, a tape featuring a conversation between Princess Diana and a close friend called James Gilbey was published.