Prince Harry Claims 'The Sun' Paid to Obtain Meghan Markle's Social Security Number While They Were Dating

The newspaper responded in a statement.

meghan harry
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Days after he implicated his brother Prince William in his legal battle against the publishers of The Sun, it has emerged that Prince Harry has leveled further dramatic allegations at News Group Newspapers.

In particular, the Duke of Sussex claimed that The Sun paid for a private investigator to find out Meghan Markle's U.S. social security number while the two were in the early stages of dating. He made these claims as part of a preliminary court hearing for his case against NGN.

"The Sun (through its journalist, James Beal, who I now know regularly stalked me in the U.K. and abroad to places such as Jamaica) instructed an American private investigator, Danno Hanks (who has admitted to regularly carrying out work for NGN over a number of years), to obtain private information in the form of a report about my new relationship with Meghan," Prince Harry said in his witness statement, according to Yahoo! News U.K.

"This information, which included highly sensitive information such as her social security number (and other details about her and her family), was unlawfully obtained by Mr. Hanks in the full knowledge of the Editors of The Sun."

The duke cited some of the information garnered, "such as my and/or Meghan’s call records (to establish how many texts I had sent her), flight details and so on."

He added that, in his view, this "unlawful activity isn’t as 'historic' as NGN claims."

The Danno Hanks Harry is referring to here is Daniel Portley-Hanks, a retired P.I. In a 2021 interview, Hanks claimed he obtained information about the Duchess of Sussex illegally, and further claimed that The Sun knew it wasn't fully above board.

He told The New York Times that The Sun "sent me a letter I had to sign that said I wouldn’t use any illegal methods to locate people or do background checks."

He added, "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."

Prince Harry

(Image credit: Getty)

In a statement to Yahoo! News in response to this new story, NGN said the following:

"In 2012, an unreserved apology was made to all of those who had brought cases against the News of the World for voicemail interception. Since then, NGN has been paying financial damages to those with claims.

"There are a number of disputed claims still going through the civil courts some of which seek to involve The Sun. The Sun does not accept liability or make any admissions to the allegations.

"As we reach the tail end of litigation, NGN is drawing a line under disputed matters, some of which date back more than 20 years ago.

"All of these matters are historical, dating back to a period between 1996 and 2012."

As this court case is in its preliminary stages, we will have to wait to find out whether it ends up going to trial.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry is still currently involved in a joint case against the publishers of the Daily Mail, Associated Newspapers, which he has brought with a number of public figures, including Sir Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost.

The latter is the case that brought the royal back to the U.K. a few weeks ago.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.