Omid Scobie’s controversial new book has been pulled in Holland after its Dutch translation appeared to name the ‘royal racist’.
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’.
Scobie does not name the member of the royal family said to have expressed ‘concern’ about the skin colour of Harry and Meghan’s future son, Archie, in his original edition of the book.
He says 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.
Meghan and Harry pictured with Archie during a tour of South Africa in September 2019
Scobie does not name the member of the royal family said to have expressed ‘concern’ about Archie’s skin colour in the original book
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’.
Harry and Meghan discussed the ‘royal racist’ in their bomshell interview with Oprah Winfrey
Scobie does not name the ‘royal racist’ in the UK edition of Endgame
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.
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.’
Archie seen with baby Lilibet in the Sussexes’ 2021 Christmas card
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.
Endgame? It might discomfort the Royal Family for a few minutes…but it’s hardly a devastating blow: BBC says Omid Scobie’s book fails to pack a punch and is ‘a little bit awkward’ at best – as reviewers call it a ‘hit job reading like a Mumsnet post’
By TOM PYMAN
Omid Scobie’s new book Endgame was today dismissed by a senior BBC reporter as being merely ‘a little bit awkward for a few minutes’ for the Royal Family.
BBC News royal correspondent Sean Coughlan claimed readers expecting ‘juicy scandal and gossip’ would be disappointed and it was ‘not really landing punches’.
He said it was ‘very critical’ of King Charles III, Camilla, Prince William and Kate – but ‘you often feel the biggest flaw they have is not being Prince Harry and Meghan’.
Mr Coughlan added: ‘I think it’s not going to damage the Royal Family but it might be a little bit awkward for a few minutes I think rather than for days and days.’
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, he continued: ‘It’s highly critical but also I think maybe oddly enough it feels slightly out of date. If you call the Royal Family a soap opera, this feels like a soap opera from a couple of years ago.
‘And I think it’s sort of maybe settling some scores. But I don’t think it’s getting under their skin enough to have new information that would be really hurtful.
Omid Scobie is pictured outside the Good Morning America studios in New York City today
The first reviews of Omid Scobie’s Endgame are out and critics have said it is ‘devoted to setting the record straight on petty slights against the Sussexes’
‘It’s quite exciting in places but it doesn’t have that explosive power that (Harry’s memorial) Spare had, because partly that was written from one person’s viewpoint who was actually in the ring. But this is a kind of slightly distant criticism from afar.’
It comes after the book faced damning reviews following its release, with one labelling it as a ‘hit job reading like a Mumsnet post about the world’s worst in-laws’.
Endgame, which hits shelves today, received two stars out of five in the Telegraph, which slams the author’s ‘burning indignation that he was shut out’ of the Palace.
It adds that there is ‘little gossip to be had here’ while simultaneously containing ‘a lot of petty detail’.
The verdict from the Times was not much kinder, calling the book ‘not so much an incisive look at why he thinks the monarchy is doomed, more a mishmash of ancient history’.
The review also mocks Scobie’s ‘po-faced prose’ and describes the book as starting with ‘him buying a black sweater, followed by how he got to a TV studio in Hammersmith’.
The New York Times’ pithy review says we’ve heard most of it before
The Independent has given Endgame three stars in their review. They claim the book paints William as the ‘villain’
Endgame, which hits shelves today, received a damning two stars out of five in the Telegraph
It comes after the usually Sussex-sympathising New York Times compares Scobie’s writing to an AI bot and declares that Harry and Meghan’s favoured journalist does them ‘no favours’.
In a pithy review, the liberal US newspaper claims a chapter on the couple even ‘reads like a press release cooked up by ChatGPT’.
It also says the book ‘is not all that different from what Harry presented in ‘Spare’,’ and ‘is devoted to setting the record straight on petty slights against the Sussexes’.
America’s first review of the book adds: ‘Readers hoping for a final death blow of gossip will be disappointed. We’ve heard much of it before. From Fergie, from Diana, from Charles, from Harry, from Harry, from Harry again.’
Meanwhile the similarly left-leaning Independent news website in the UK claims ‘he paints Meghan and Harry in a relentless saintly light’.
The NYT’s writer Eva Wolchover, who co-hosts its Windsors & Losers royal podcast, is critical of Endgame after receiving an advanced copy.
She says: ‘Whether or not Scobie actively collaborated with Meghan and Harry for this book, he does them no favours. Their chapter reads like a press release cooked up by ChatGPT, and does little to shed light on them as humans.’
The New York Times had the first review in the US, and The Independent in the UK. Both are left-leaning press
Ms Wolchover also says of the author’s warnings that the Royal Family faces ‘extinction’: ‘It’s hard not to find Scobie’s dire predictions a tad hyperbolic.’
She writes: ‘Scobie defines the term ‘endgame’ as ‘the final stages of a chess game after most of the pieces have been removed from the board’, adding: ‘Unless Charles and his heirs act quickly, Scobie underscores, they risk losing the crown, or at the very least, any remaining cultural relevance.’
The Independent had the first British review of Endgame, giving it three-stars.
Writer Anna Pasternak says that Scobie ‘is unfailingly sympathetic to the Sussexes’.
She writes: ‘He does not hold them accountable for anything – he does not, as I had anticipated, demonise Charles or denounce Camilla. I was expecting something different – him possibly laying into evil monarch King Charles and wicked stepmother, Queen Camilla. The real royal villain here is William’.
By Daily Mail Online, November 28, 2023