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Exploding ‘Megxit’: How Dan Wootton and a Cash-for-Leaks Scandal Split the Monarchy

The first retail edition of Byline Times’ monthly newspaper reveals the world exclusive story about why Prince Harry and Meghan really left the Royal Family

Read Adam Bienkov and Patrick Howse’s full and exclusive investigation into the BBC in the April edition of Byline Times. Available as a digital edition online now, or in stores and newsagents from 20 March.

King Charles “pushed” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex into commercial deals in the US by withdrawing £700,000 funding for a trial year in Canada over a royal cash-for-leaks scandal sparked by journalist Dan Wootton, Byline Times can reveal.

The financial sanction stemmed from a refusal to remove from legal papers the name of a Kensington Palace aide whose partner was receiving money from the then Sun newspaper executive editor, allegedly for stories about ‘Megxit’ and Prince Archie.

It resulted in the collapse of the ‘Sandringham Agreement’ struck under the late Queen in January 2020 to give Prince Harry and Meghan Markle an opportunity to escape the royal press rota in the UK and continue in public service from North America.

Now, as part of a three-year investigation into the conduct of Wootton – which has already unmasked him as a serial catfish and sparked a Metropolitan Police probe – Byline Times is publishing a three-part special into his dealings with the royal household.

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The full stories are available to read in the first retail edition of Byline Times available in shops on Thursday or online by subscription. They reveal how:

⬛ Prince Harry and Meghan were forced out of the Sandringham Agreement to continue in public service from Canada when his father pulled the plug on funding.

⬛ It followed news that a partner of a key aide to Prince William received £4,000 from The Sun allegedly for stories about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when Wootton was executive editor.

⬛ The payments came to light in anonymous whistle-blower emails claiming to be from admin workers within the Murdoch newspaper publishing empire.

⬛ They told how the payments had provoked panic at The Sun and claimed senior executives quietly brushed the matter under the carpet.

⬛ The payments allegedly related to stories about Archie’s nannying and godparent arrangements and Wootton’s January 2020 breaking story about so-called ‘Megxit’.

⬛ The Metropolitan Police looked into the alleged leaking but could not go to a judge for a warrant to search royal staff property without knowing the identity of the whistle-blowers.

⬛ Two internal royal investigations followed – one involving Simon Case, who is today the embattled head of the civil service facing questions over the Government’s response to the pandemic.

⬛ The palace investigations cleared the aide after he denied being the source of the Archie and Megxit information and told Case that neither he nor his partner were friends with Wootton, although he admitted to knowing the journalist.

Byline Times has uncovered new photographic evidence of Wootton, the aide and the aide’s partner at a lavish private birthday party Wootton threw for his close friends in a £1,675-a-night hotel suite.

⬛ Prince Harry sent formal ‘letters before action’ detailing the claims about Wootton and the palace to News UK.

⬛ Sir Clive Alderton – today King Charles and Queen Camilla’s right-hand man – and the former Lord Chamberlain Lord Peel put pressure on Harry to alter the legal papers.

⬛ When the aide’s name was not removed from the legal letters, the Sussexes were cut adrift financially and left unable to protect themselves despite having a security threat level equal to the monarch.

⬛ The royal household had thought the threat of exposure would force Harry and Meghan to return to the UK, where their profile could be controlled preventing them from eclipsing the future King.

⬛ But it drove a wedge through the Royal Family and set in train events leading to Prince Harry’s book Spare, a string of high-profile commercial media deals, and ongoing bad blood in the British monarchy.

The full stories include exclusive insider accounts collected by Byline Times of events leading up to and following the cash-for-leaks affair and Wootton’s involvement in articles containing sensitive private information about the Royal Family.

Excerpts from the original emails containing detailed allegations of the Wootton payments are also revealed, as well as the involvement of the aide Christian Jones, who went on to hold one of the most prominent positions in the royal household.

Byline Times also reveals an exclusive photograph that raises legitimate questions as to the thoroughness of Simon Case’s investigation into the matter, shortly before Boris Johnson brought him into his Government to help oversee the national response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Byline Times is Britain’s newest national newspaper, available at WHSmith and Waitrose and more than 1,000 good independent outlets, as well as online by subscription. Read the full story of The Truth About ‘Megxit’, and support independent investigative journalism, by buying a copy

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