Buckingham Palace is considering whether it should take action after the King and Princess of Wales were named in the Dutch version of a new book as senior royals who questioned what skin colour Prince Archie would have.
When the unsubstantiated allegation first surfaced two years ago, the palace described it as fiction. And there has been no evidence that has been published since to suggest it is true.
But the row resurfaced on Tuesday after the names of the two senior royals were published in a Dutch translation of a book by Omid Scobie.
The writer said an investigation had been launched into how the names were included in the translated version of Endgame, which Dutch publisher, Xander Uitgevers, said had been pulled from shelves in the Netherlands due to an “error”.
Mr Scobie insisted on Thursday that he had “never submitted a book that had their names in it” and that he was “frustrated” by the incident.
It comes as the King arrived in Dubai where he is due to deliver the opening address to the UN’s Cop28 climate summit.
“I’m all right thank you very much, just about, having had a rather ancient birthday recently, recovering from the shock of that,” the monarch, who celebrated his 75th birthday earlier this month, joked when he met Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu.
The Prince and Princess of Wales, meanwhile, were attending this year’s Royal Variety Show at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
What is the row about?
The duchess alleged in the interview that a member of the Royal Family had raised “concerns” about Archie’s skin colour before he was born.
She said: “[There were] concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born.”
Winfrey replied: “There’s a conversation with you?”
Meghan interjected: “With Harry.”
Winfrey continued: “About how dark your baby is going to be?”
Meghan replied: “Potentially, and what that would mean and look like.”
She refused to reveal who had made the comments, adding: “I think that would be very damaging to them.”
Winfrey later revealed Harry had told her it was not Prince Philip or the late Queen.
The claim sparked headlines about a so-called “royal racist” and prompted a rare response from the royals, with Prince William saying: “We are very much not a racist family,” when asked about the claim.
The Royal Family later followed up with a comment, in which they said that “whilst some recollections may vary”, the issues brought up in the interview were “concerning” and would “be addressed”.
Harry denies calling family ‘racist’
In November 2021, American author Christopher Andersen alleged it was the King who made the comments on the day
Harry and Meghan’s engagement was announced in November 2017.
He wrote in his book – Brothers And Wives: Inside The Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan – that Charles said to Camilla: “I wonder what the children will look like?”
In response, a palace source told Sky News: “This is fiction and not worth further comment.”
The row was raised again in January this year, when Harry denied the couple had called anyone racist.
When asked by ITV’s Tom Bradby whether the couple had accused the Royal Family of racism, he said: “No I didn’t. The
British press said that. Did Meghan ever mention they were racist?”
Mr Bradby responded: “She said there were troubling comments about…”
Harry replied: “That there were concerns about his skin colour.”
Mr Bradby responded: “Right. Wouldn’t you describe that as essentially racist?”
Harry replied: “I wouldn’t. Not having lived in that family,” before adding that there was a difference between “racism” and “unconscious bias”.
What has Endgame said?
Mr Scobie’s new book claimed the names of two senior royals allegedly involved were shared in a letter written by the Duchess of Sussex to the King in the aftermath of the interview.
In the UK version of the book, Mr Scobie writes: “Laws in the United Kingdom prevent me from reporting who they were.”
However, a Dutch version of the book claimed the letter named the King and the Princess of Wales as the two people involved in the conversations.
The Dutch publisher, Xander Uitgevers, said on Tuesday that sales of the book had been put on hold “temporarily” in the Netherlands over what it called an “error”.
Mr Scobie, who previously co-authored the biography Finding Freedom about the Sussexes and their split from the Royal Family, denied publishing the names in any version of Endgame.
“The book is in several languages, and unfortunately I do not speak Dutch,” he told chat show, RTL Boulevard.
“But if there are translation errors, the publisher will correct them.
“I wrote the English version. There was no version from me in which names were mentioned.”
On Thursday, speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Mr Scobie insisted: “I have never submitted a book that had their names in it.”
He also said he has never used the word “racist” to describe the royals who allegedly questioned Archie’s skin colour, describing the incident as “unconscious bias” in the book.
Following the publication of Endgame, TV presenter Piers Morgan named the two senior royals on his TalkTV show and social media account.
Mr Morgan, who made it clear he did not believe the allegations, said: “If Dutch people wandering into a bookshop can see these names, then you, the British people who actually pay for the royal family are entitled to know, too.”
Representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not responded to a request for comment.