Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have released a statement in the wake of the revelation by private investigator Daniel Hanks that he illegally obtained personal info about the Duchess of Sussex.
“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,” a spokesperson for the couple said, according to People. “They are grateful to those working in media who stand for upholding the values of journalism, which are needed now more than ever before.”
Per People, Hanks told the BBC that in 2016 he was hired by The Sun to look into Markle’s life. He then obtained very sensitive info about her—including her Social Security number, which he found illegally.
Hanks decided to come forward “to clear [his] conscience,” per the BBC.
“I’m deeply sorry for what I did…and I’m available if your lawyers need to talk to me,” he told the outlet. “I’m ready to give you what I know. Supply you with any information. I just wish this had never happened.”
News Group Newspapers, which publishes The Sun, said in a statement, “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.”
The statement continues, “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.”