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Royal race row naming not publicity stunt – author – BBC News

  • By Sean Seddon, Victoria Derbyshire & Hollie Cole
  • BBC News

Video caption,

Watch: Omid Scobie denies the Dutch printing error was a publicity stunt

An author whose book triggered a row over allegations of racism within the Royal Family has said the naming of two people in one edition was not a deliberate publicity stunt.

Omid Scobie said he did not know how a Dutch translation of Endgame came to include the names of King Charles and Catherine, Princess of Wales.

They are reported to have allegedly discussed the skin colour of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s unborn baby.

Scobie insists the naming was an error.

He told BBC Two’s Newsnight a “full investigation” was under way to discover how the names were included, adding the English version of the book “I wrote, the book I edited, didn’t have names in it”.

The passage relates to allegations made by Prince Harry and Meghan during their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021.

In the English version of the book, Scobie claimed there had been two people involved and that he knew their identities, but he said for legal reasons the names could not be disclosed.

However, the Dutch language edition of his book, entitled Eindstrijd, appeared to identify the two royals alleged to have been involved in the conversation.

The King and Catherine were the two royals named in the Dutch book. They were identified earlier this week by broadcaster Piers Morgan.

When asked about reports that Buckingham Palace was considering legal action over Morgan naming the two royals, a Palace spokesperson said “we’re exploring all options”.

Speaking to TalkTV, security minister Tom Tugendhat said the claims against the King and the Princess of Wales were “completely unproven”.

“The King’s done a brilliant job for us, not just in the last year since he’s been King, but he’s been absolutely fantastic for many, many years in arguing in the interests of the British people as Prince of Wales,” he said.

He added he saw it as “rumour, hearsay and an attempt to disparage somebody who’s served our country with enormous dignity and enormous grace for many, many years”.

Scobie told the BBC he “found out on social media” about controversy surrounding the Dutch translation, and said he is “looking forward to finding out more.”

Asked whether the names had been deliberately included in the Dutch version to generate interest in the book, Scobie said he was “hurt” by “conspiracy theories that this is a publicity stunt”.

He continued: “All of this is frustrating because it feeds into something that couldn’t be further from the truth. And also, quite frankly, I’ve always felt the names weren’t needed to have this discussion”.

Image caption,

Publisher Xander Uitgevers said on Tuesday it was “temporarily withdrawing” Endgame in the Netherlands

Scobie said the row has “overshadowed” the release of the book, and that he has received several death threats in the aftermath.

Asked if he would apologise for the naming, he said: “It’s not for me to apologise because I still want to know what has happened.”

On Thursday morning, Scobie told ITV’s This Morning he had “never submitted a book that had their names in it”.

The Dutch version has been withdrawn from sale. Publishing house Xander Uitgevers said the book would be re-released on Friday in a “rectified” version.

“An error occurred in the Dutch translation and is currently being rectified,” said its managing director, Anke Roelen, on Tuesday night.

Representatives of Prince Harry and Meghan have not commented on the book.

During her interview in 2021, Meghan told Oprah Winfrey that Harry had been asked by an unnamed family member “how dark” their son Archie’s skin might be.

The claims were explosive – Buckingham Palace called them “concerning” and said they were being “taken very seriously”.

However, in subsequent interviews, Prince Harry was asked whether he would describe the comment about his son’s skin colour as racist, he told ITV’s Tom Bradby in January: “No, I wouldn’t.”

Endgame is not Scobie’s first book about the Royal Family. In 2020, he and Carolyn Durand co-wrote a biography of Meghan, called Finding Freedom.

The book later made headlines when Meghan was forced to apologise to a court for saying she “did not contribute” to the biography – despite witnesses saying she provided “briefing notes” to one of her aides who she knew was in touch with Scobie and Durand.

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