I have no idea if Prince Harry likes to curse, but I imagine him dropping some well-justified f-bombs all over the place every so often. As this story broke, I have an image of him telling Meghan, “They’re going to be sorry they ever f–ked with us.” And it’s true. Chickens are coming home to roost. Many gossip bloggers, including Lainey at LaineyGossip and yours truly, have pointed out that Dan Wootton at The Sun has gotten some very suspicious leaks from Kensington Palace over the past 14 months especially. Wootton was the one to break the story about Sussexit back in January of this year, by far THE biggest royal story of the year, and one he suspiciously had an inside track on, albeit an inside track which “massaged” the story more in favor of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s narrative at the time. More recently, I spoke about my surprise that Wootton had not done much about Kate’s Tatler debacle – he only wrote about it for the first time late last week, and it was a lukewarm criticism about classism re: Carole Middleton.
You get the idea. Wootton has had a steady stream of exclusives, many of which are mostly true, or true-with-a-Keen streak. We also knew that Wootton had some kind of connection to high-level staffers in Kensington Palace’s communications office, namely Christian Jones. Why all of this Wootton talk now? Because Prince Harry’s lawsuit against the Sun has uncovered ALL of the shenanigans about Wootton. Byline Investigates ran a bombshell report, which you can read here. It’s long, but I’ll try to summarize the broad strokes:
Dan Wootton and The Sun are threatening Byline Investigates for this story: They sent a formal “Letter Before Action” threat to the site because of this story.
The connection between Wootton and KP: There is a “close connection between Mr Wootton and the Sussexes’ former Communications Secretary Christian Jones, who continues to be employed in the role by Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and whose partner is freelance publicist Callum Stephens, who is also a friend to Wootton.”
Wootton allegedly paid Callum Stephens for info: “Sources close to the matter say it is alleged The Sun made two payments amounting to £4,000 to Stephens, in relation to stories published in June and July 2019 about nannying and god-parenting arrangements for the Sussexes’ son Archie, and that the payments appear to have been identified by way of an internal News UK accounting code.”
It’s through these payouts that Wootton got info about Sussexit: “Confidential details of the Sussexes’ move to Canada were also revealed in an unauthorised fashion and then published in the Sun on Sunday in January under Wootton’s name, according to three sources with knowledge of the case…There is no suggestion the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had any knowledge at the time of unauthorised briefings to the Press.”
Wootton is being protected for now: “Wootton says he is prepared to defend his position in court and that he will prove his professional integrity if need be, and claims to enjoy the full confidence of The Sun, whose editor-in-chief Victoria Newton has coincidentally been named as a suspected phone hacker in an unrelated court case that Prince Harry is bringing against the tabloid. Both Wootton and News UK have said they will sue Byline Investigates immediately for writing this story.
Who is Callum Stephens? “Jones’s partner, Callum Stephens, is a freelance publicist involved in the management of stars from tragedy-stricken ITV2 show Love Island, and whose previous clients include The Weinstein Company, model Naomi Campbell, presenter Emma Willis, and Olympic diver Tom Daley. He was Jones’ partner at the “material times”, which are said to have begun in June 2019 and continued in 2020. Contrary to reports, the Sussexes had no part in the 2019 hiring of Wootton’s friend Christian Jones to handle their media relations during the Duchess’s pregnancy – an appointment recorded at the time by The Sun in an unusual article praising the “hottie” new PR man as “hunky”, “handsome” and “cute”.
So, BI says that Prince Harry now believes – and Harry is making this part of his larger lawsuit – that Wootton used his friendships with Christian Jones and Callum Stephens to work out a scheme where he paid Stephens for information – given by Jones, who still works for Kensington Palace – about the Sussexes. And only the Sussexes? That’s what I don’t get – Christian Jones clearly works for the Cambridges and he would obviously have *more* information on Will and Kate. So why were all of the exclusives about Meghan and Harry? Sounds like Willileaks has already found his patsy, his scapegoat. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think the Wootton-Jones-Stephens connection needs to be explored in greater detail. But it feels like Wootton and Prince William were both showing their hands because of the LACK of tea about the Cambridges in Wootton’s reporting post-Rose Hanbury. I’m just saying.
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