Did tabloid news outlets pay a private investigator to stalk Meghan Markle?
Since leaving their post with the royal family, Meghan Markle & Prince Harry have spoken candidly about their relationship with the media. During their recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, the couple talked freely about Buckingham Palace’s relationship with the British press revealing that they actively perpetuate false, harmful information. Harry even said he was concerned that what happened to his mother was happening to his wife.
Now, new information has surfaced that proves a British tabloid hired a private investigator to dig up dirt on Meghan Markle. The Sun hired American private investigator Dan ‘Danno’ Hanks shortly after Markle started dating Harry. The results of the investigation led to the rift that currently exists between Markle and her father.
As the truth about Dan ‘Danno’ Hanks’ actions came to light, Meghan Markle & Prince Harry released a statement about the ordeal. Here is everything we know about the new royal scandal.
Dan ‘Danno’ Hanks
According to a report by Byline Investigates during his investigation into Meghan Markle and her father, Hanks was able to obtain all kinds of personal information about the pair. The report reveals that Hanks used both legal & illegal methods to obtain the information he collected and then turned over to The Sun.
He obtained Markle’s social security number, which is a criminal offense in the United States. He was also able to obtain her phone number. Several days later, The Sun ran a report that revealed Prince Harry had sent Markle a multitude of text messages in the lead up to their first date. There is also speculation as to whether The Sun used this number to retrieve Markle’s phone bills.
Hanks also went after Markle’s family members and her ex-husband. He was unable to find anything scandalous in those investigations though so the dossier Hanks presented to The Sun largely focussed on Markle’s relationship with her father. The media storm that resulted from Hanks’ investigation further impacted Markle’s already fragile relationship with her father and caused trouble for Buckingham Palace.
According to a report in the New York Times Hanks signed paperwork with The Sun that verified that he wouldn’t conduct his investigation into Markle illegally. However, he said he was given contrary orders off the record.
“Then the reporters came back to me and said, ‘But if you want to get work, keep doing what you’ve been doing,’ with a nod and a wink,” said Hanks.
The Sun strongly denies these allegations.
The Sun’s statement
A spokesperson for News UK, publisher of the Sun, released a statement regarding this matter.
“In 2016, The Sun made a legitimate request of Mr. Hanks to research contact details and addresses for Meghan Markle and possible relatives using legal databases which he had a license to use. He was paid $250.
“Mr Hanks was not tasked to do anything illegal or breach any privacy laws – indeed he was instructed clearly in writing to act lawfully and he signed a legal undertaking that he would do so. The information he provided could not and did not raise any concerns that he had used illegal practices to obtain the information.
“At no time did the Sun request the social security number of Meghan Markle, nor use the information he provided for any unlawful practice. The Sun abides by all laws and regulations and maintains strict protocols in relation to the obtaining of information from third parties. Strict compliance is in place to cover all our reporting.”
In an exclusive report with Byline Investigates Dan ‘Danno’ Hanks has issued a formal apology to both Meghan Markle and the queen for his role in hardships they endured at the hands of the British press.
“I’m sorry to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for targeting her family, particularly her dad, on behalf of The Sun. I never wanted to cause Meghan Markle harm, and wouldn’t have done the job if I’d have known it would lead to all these problems. I also wanted to take this opportunity to apologize to The Queen, because I realize the harm of what I did for The Sun has affected the whole family,” Hanks told Byline Investigates.
Hanks served time in prison in 2017 on extortion charges for an unrelated case.
Meghan Markle & Prince Harry speak out
A spokesperson for Meghan Markle & Prince Harry quickly released a statement on this issue as the story started breaking.
“The Duke and Duchess 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. They are grateful to those working in media who stand for upholding the values of journalism, which are needed now more than ever before.”
Prince Harry is currently pursuing legal cases against the publishers of both The Sun & The Mirror regarding breaches of privacy via the hacking of their phones. These cases are currently ongoing.