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‘The Sun’ Paid For Improperly Obtained Meghan Markle Personal Data

The Mail article, and the various articles in The Sun, appeared in the first week of November, 2016. Days later, Prince Harry’s office issued an extraordinary statement declaring that Ms. Markle had been “subject to a wave of abuse and harassment” and that “nearly every friend, co-worker and loved one in her life” had been pursued, and in some cases offered money for interviews, by members of the British news media.

The couple have been at war with the tabloids ever since. In addition to Harry’s lawsuit, Meghan filed her own suit against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, accusing it of violating her privacy by publishing an anguished letter she sent to her estranged father. In February, a High Court in London ruled in her favor.

On Thursday, Harry and Meghan, who are also known as the duke and duchess of Sussex, said in a statement that Mr. Portley-Hanks’ claims showed “that the predatory practices of days past are still ongoing, reaping irreversible damage for families and relationships.”

Harry has often blamed the tabloids for the death of his mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 after a high-speed pursuit by paparazzi. He even attributed his and Meghan’s decision to withdraw from royal duties and leave Britain in part to the unrelenting scrutiny of the news media.

“We all know what the British press can be like, and it was destroying my mental health,” Harry said to the British talk-show host, James Corden, last month. “I was, like, this is toxic. So, I did what any husband and what any father would do — I need to get my family out of here.”

He and Meghan made similar claims in their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this month. Mr. Portley-Hanks, who said he had already come to regret his actions, said those comments deepened his sense of remorse for his role in helping to steer the tabloids to Ms. Markle and members of her family.

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British Tabloid The Sun Paid For Improperly Obtained Meghan Markle Personal Data

None of the information supplied by him raised concerns about illegal practices, the company said, adding that it did not request Ms. Markle’s Social Security number — which is more restricted information — and did not use it for any purpose.

In Britain, legal experts said, the tabloids have moved carefully since the 2011 scandal, which forced Mr. Murdoch to shut down another of his tabloids, The News of the World, and torpedoed his takeover of a satellite broadcaster, BSkyB.

“There is, at present, no evidence that has come to light that they continued any illegal activities since 2011,” said Daniel Taylor, an expert in privacy law.

But Mr. Taylor added, speaking of the tabloids, “There would have been enormous interest in Harry and Meghan, and there is no doubt they would have turned over every stone to make sure they got a competitive edge on their rivals.”

Even as The Sun was printing its early articles about the Harry and Meghan romance, the Sunday Express and other competitors were getting scoops of their own, fanning out across America to talk to anyone remotely connected to Ms. Markle. They staked out houses; they bombarded distant relatives with phone calls; they talked to neighbors; they quoted unnamed “friends” and “pals” of the couple.

Typical of the coverage was an article in The Daily Mail that, loaded with racist innuendo, said that the biracial Ms. Markle was “(Almost) Straight Outta Compton,” and described the L.A. neighborhood where her Black mother lived as full of “tatty one-story homes” and riddled with drugs, guns, gangs and violence.

The Mail article, and the various articles in The Sun, appeared in the first week of November, 2016. Days later, Prince Harry’s office issued an extraordinary statement declaring that Ms. Markle had been “subject to a wave of abuse and harassment” and that “nearly every friend, co-worker and loved one in her life” had been pursued, and in some cases offered money for interviews, by members of the British news media.

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Los Angeles Museums Can Reopen, at 25 Percent Capacity

LOS ANGELES — Having been closed for a year, museums were finally granted the right to reopen indoors at 25 percent capacity on Monday when the state moved Los Angeles County into its less restrictive red tier of Covid-19 regulations.

“It’s thrilling that we’ve finally been given permission to reopen,” said Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which plans to reopen April 1. “Millions of visitors in other cities have already safely visited art museums and been able to take advantage of the beauty, the solace, and the engagement with the issues of our time that museums can provide. Finally, those in Los Angeles can too.”

The change reflects an improving pandemic picture in Los Angeles, where coronavirus cases are declining as the number of vaccinations is increasing. Visitors will finally be able to see shows like “Made in L.A. 2020” at the Hammer and the Huntington, an important showcase for rising local artists.

The protracted shutdown cost the county’s museums, zoos and aquariums more than $5 billion in 2020, according to the California Association of Museums. Galleries have been allowed to operate because they are classified as commerce.

Some museum leaders said it would take a little time to be up and running with appropriate safety protocols in place. Govan said LACMA “can’t wait to welcome visitors in person.”

Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer, said, “It will take us a few weeks to ramp up; we are looking at mid-April.”

“I’m so excited to see people in the galleries and for ‘Made in L.A.’ to finally have its audience,” she added.

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