The latest bombshell in the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle saga just dropped — and this one falls squarely in favor of the royal couple.
BBC News released an interview with an American private investigator, who confessed to having been hired to dig up dirt on Markle by a notable British tabloid. Daniel “Danno” Hanks told the agency that The Sun paid him to obtain highly personal details about the actress prior to her wedding to the prince, including her phone number, addresses, and information on her family members, ex-husband, and a former boyfriend. He also obtained her Social Security number — an illegal act for a journalist. He told the network, “Pretty much everything I found out they could find out themselves using legal means — with the exception of the Social Security numbers. When you have that information… it’s the key to the kingdom.”
The newspaper’s publisher confirmed paying Hanks $250 for the legally obtained information, but stated that they did not request or use the illegally obtained ID number.
A spokesperson for the couple released an official statement on Friday morning (via People and other outlets): “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex feel that today is an important moment of reflection for the media industry and society at large, as this investigative report shows that the predatory practices of days past are still ongoing, reaping irreversible damage for families and relationships,” it said. “They are grateful to those working in media who stand for upholding the values of journalism, which are needed now more than ever before.”
The 'toxic' media was too much for Meghan and Harry
This news is important in light of the Oprah With Meghan and Harry interview, in which the couple spoke candidly about the way Meghan was treated by the media both before and after their marriage. The duchess pointed out that while other royals are also under public scrutiny, the press’s “racist” statements about her are vastly different from the merely “rude” coverage of sister-in-law Kate Middleton (via People). Prior to the Oprah sit-down, the prince told James Corden that the “Megxit” decision was influenced by the stress of the media attacks, saying, “We all know what the British media can be like, and it was destroying my mental health” (via CBS News)
The royals have long been at odds with the media, even taking legal action at times (as Princess Diana did, according to The Independent) to counteract the most false or intrusive stories. But in recent years, the tabs have supposedly been on their best behavior. Princess Diana’s chief of staff has said that “most of the time, most of the tabloids wrote truthful stuff” (via Reader’s Digest). This supposed journalistic integrity has fueled the claims of critics like Piers Morgan and Donald Trump Jr., who scoffed at Meghan’s claims about the tabs’ effect on her well-being.
Hanks offered his deepest apologies to the royal couple in his BBC interview, adding that he was willing to speak with their legal staff if need be. “I’m ready to give you what I know. Supply you with any information. I just wish this had never happened,” he said.
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