A panicked Omid Scobie has insisted he did not name a senior figure of The Firm as the ‘royal racist’, after his controversial new book was dramatically pulled from the shelves today in the Netherlands. The author has blamed a ‘translation error’ for a passage in the Dutch language version of the book which appeared to name the person who allegedly questioned what colour Harry and Meghan’s unborn son Archie would be. Publishers Xander have confirmed to the Daily Mail that it had received a last-minute request from the US to put sales of Endgame on hold and were ‘awaiting further instructions’.
Prior to publication the 42-year-old had said he would not publish the name of the accused after alleging a letter between Meghan and King Charles named the person responsible. He has claimed libel laws prevented him naming them – although he has gone on to claim that a second person within the royal household also echoed the remarks. But a page taken from a review copy of the book sent to Dutch journalists does seem to contain the person’s identity. Speaking to Dutch chat show RTL Boulevard today, Mr Scobie said insisted he was not to blame for the error. ‘The book is in several languages, and unfortunately I do not speak Dutch. But if there are translation errors, I’m sure the publishers will have it under control,’ he said. ‘I wrote and edited the English version. There’s never been no version that I’ve produced that has names in it.’ Although the Dutch version of the book does appear to name the person, both Scobie and publisher insist this is a translation error.
Referring to letters written between Meghan and the King discussing the issue, it reads: ‘But in those private letters [the identity] was confirmed: ….’ [the Mail has redacted the name concerned] It is not clear why a foreign language version of the book would name an individual when other editions did not, or whether it was intentionally included or is a major publishing error. A spokesman for the Dutch publisher said: ‘You are right but I can’t talk about the details. We have, however, received a request to put the title on hold and that is what we have done.’ Asked when that request was received, she explained: ‘Just now. We are awaiting further instructions. I do not know how long this will be. You should speak to the US agent.’ The original claim was made by Meghan in her infamous Oprah interview of March 2020 when she revealed there were ‘several conversations’ between herself, Harry and members within the royal family about ‘how dark’ their baby could be before Archie was born. ‘In those months when I was pregnant [there were] concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born,’ Meghan said in the interview.
Harry added: ‘That conversation, I am never going to share. At the time it was awkward, I was a bit shocked.’ Meghan added: ‘I think it would be very damaging for them.’ The resulting furore led Prince William to state publicly that they were ‘very much not a racist family’. Buckingham Palace said the claims were ‘concerning’ and that ‘recollections may vary’ but they would address the claims privately. Harry later clarified that the royal family member in question was not the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh. But in failing to say who was said to have made the remark and what the context was, it has sparked continuing debate and uncertainty that has haunted the Royal Family to this day. Many of the couple’s critics believe it was deeply unfair to have raised allegations of racism without defining them or giving those involved the chance to explain their side of the story. Speaking to US television show GMA3 today, Scobie had revealed his surprise that Harry and Meghan hadn’t spoken about the issue again in their Netflix documentary or during the Duke of Sussex’s memoir, Spare.
When asked by hosts what he was able to share about what he’d learned about the allegations, Scobie said he had ‘always wondered why’ the couple failed to mention the remarks again after airing them so publicly during their bombshell sit-down with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021. ‘Listen, there are many people that argued, It’s normal to have conversations about what a child might look like at birth.’ But I think the problematic term that Meghan raised was that there were ‘concerns’ over the color of Archie’s skin,’ he said. ‘I always wondered why Harry and Meghan didn’t continue that conversation in the Netflix series and in Harry’s book Spare. It was like it disappeared out of sight and I wanted to get to the bottom of that.’ In his new book Scobie refers to a subsequent exchange of letters between Meghan and her father-in-law that both parties are said to have wanted to keep confidential that address the duchess’s ‘concerns about unconscious racial bias in the royal family’. It is suggested they contained ‘damning details’.
Scobie goes on to say that Charles first reached out to Meghan in spring 2021 to express his sadness over the ‘distance’ between them and his disappointment that the couple chose to go so public with their words. He apparently said how ‘upset’ he was over the claims that ‘concern’ had been raised about what Archie’s skin colour night be ‘and what that would look like [for the Firm].’ He adds that in the pages of these private letters ‘two identities were revealed. Laws in the United Kingdom prevent me from reporting who they were.’ He quotes ‘sources’ as saying that the King wanted his response to make clear to his daughter-in-law that he felt there was ‘no ill will or casual prejudice when the two people had spoken about his future grandson’. The book also quotes a ‘royal insider’ saying: ‘He wanted to clear up something he felt strongly about’.
Despite the clear inferences in her interview, Scobie is at pains to stress that Meghan never used the words racist or racism when she spoke about the event or in her letters. He says her concerns were that the tone revealed ‘lingering unconscious bias and ignorance with the family that needed to be addressed.’ He claims while the king and Meghan never saw ‘eye to eye’ on the issue ‘there was at least a feeling that both had been heard’. Scobie adds there was ‘no hard feelings’. One well-placed source with knowledge of the situation has emphasised to the Mail that the conversation was a private one between Harry and the person concerned and that Meghan was not present. Her husband later relayed the conversation to her. There was no immediate comment from Buckingham Palace. Scobie has also insisted that Harry and Meghan did not brief him for Endgame – but revealed ‘people around them’ were happy to tell all about ‘the ins and outs’ of their rows with the Royal Family. He told the Evening Standard: ‘There’s enough people around them and in their orbit who know the ins and outs of things’, adding: ‘If there’s ever been a private encounter with Meghan, I’ve spoken about it’.
Mr Scobie has also denied Endgame is biased in favour of the Sussexes, with one pithy review claiming the main chapter on Harry and Meghan is more like a press release sent from their team. Another critic said ‘he paints Meghan and Harry in a relentless saintly light’. Instead Mr Scobie says he is not close to the former Suits star and her royal husband, only drawn to ‘injustice’ and aims to highlight what he sees as the hypocrisy of the Windsors trying to be a ‘perfect example of traditional family values’. Scobie’s ‘depressingly poisonous’ Endgame was today written off as just another book by those inside Buckingham Palace, MailOnline can reveal. Omid is particularly cruel to Prince William and his wife, who he says is dubbed ‘Katie Keen’. He also appears to blame them, especially Kate, for pushing Meghan out: ‘There was a coldness towards Meghan from the very early stages that I always found quite surprising. I always found it interesting that when Meghan was going through the sort of toughest days of her life, and struggling with mental health issues… someone within the family who’s experienced that glare as a newcomer for the first time herself… wasn’t able to turn around and help a family member. To me, I think that speaks a lot to someone’s character.’
He also said to the Evening Standard that as a ‘woman of colour’, Meghan becoming a royal is a ‘really important moment in British history’. He said the Windsors should have tried harder to keep her close, ‘regardless of whether she’s likeable’. Not keeping her in The Firm sends a ‘strong message about the institution’s attitudes towards people from different backgrounds’. He told the Standard that Prince William is now ‘very consumed, very hot tempered, quick to react’ and staff needing to ‘check which way the wind’s blowing before talking to him’. Mr Scobie also told the Standard: ‘It makes me wonder how happy he is in his role’, adding that he believes there is a ‘widening divide between father and son’. In the same interview he admitted to being 42, having previously lied about his age. He said: ‘I work in an industry where I’m surrounded by people who are, let’s say, conservative with telling their age, particularly in television’, claiming it is ‘par for the course’ to ‘swipe’ years from your age.
Mr Scobie blamed a ‘little insecurity’ about turning 40 and thought ‘no one would ever know’ – but journalists checked. ‘You learn from those mistakes. I can’t do much more than own it’, he said. He also hit back at criticism of his journalism defending his experience and revealing he is a good lip-reader and that has helped with some of his royal scoops. He added: ‘I have had to deal with envy, I’ve had to deal with prejudice,’ he says. ‘I’m okay with it, at this point, it’s just all noise’. Today he hit back at his critics on Instagram – and ignored some of the reviews – to declare: ‘After all the nonsense written by people who haven’t seen the book, I’m looking forward to everyone actually being able to read Endgame for themselves’. Buckingham Palace has kept a contemptuous silence but a royal source has dismissed Mr Scobie’s Endgame as just another book on the Windsors that is not worthy of official comment.
The insider told MailOnline when asked if there were truth in claims made by Mr Scobie: ‘There are hundreds of books written about the Royal Family’. Endgame was released today but some of the reviews have been poor. Even the Sussex-sympathising New York Times was withering. The new book on the royals was branded ‘vicious’ and ‘plain nasty’ last night. Well-placed sources described wild claims that Charles, Camilla and William conspired to undermine Harry and Meghan as ‘depressingly poisonous’. Omid Scobie’s book also takes aim at the Princess of Wales, branding her ‘cold’ and lambasting her for backing mental health causes while ‘ignoring Meghan’s cries for help’. It tries to stoke a row over the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh’s jokey bid to deflect questions about the Sussexes’ bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview by saying: ‘Oprah who?’ He says this made Edward and Sophie seem ‘casually bigoted’. Endgame, which was published in Australia yesterday and hits shelves here today, paints an almost comically negative view of the monarchy, with royals depicted as pantomime-style villains.
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By Daily Mail Online, November 29, 2023