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.
‘I despise the PM’: George Galloway hits back at ‘little’ Rishi Sunak after Rochdale win called ‘alarming’
George Galloway told Sky News he “despises” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak when asked about the prime minister’s speech condemning extremism.
The Workers Party of Britain leader won the Rochdale by-election with 12,335 votes – more than 5,000 votes over second placed independent David Tully – and focused much of his campaign on the plight of Palestinians in Gaza.
But in Mr Sunak’s speech outside Downing Street, he said Mr Galloway returning to parliament is “beyond alarming”, saying the new MP “dismisses the horror of what happened on 7 October” and “glorifies Hezbollah”.
Follow latest: PM rails against ‘extremist forces’
When asked by Sky News’ Sam Coates if he respected Mr Sunak, the Rochdale MP fired back: “I despise the prime minister.
“And guess what? Millions and millions and millions of people in this country despise the prime minister.
“I do not respect the prime minister at all.”
‘Little’ Rishi Sunak
Speaking in his campaign office, Mr Galloway also dismissed the prime minister’s concerns, instead talking up his win on Thursday night.
“I’ve got the democratic mandate here, not Rishi Sunak,” he said, “so don’t put to me statements made by Rishi Sunak as if I’m meant to be impressed by them.
“He [doesn’t] impress me much.”
He also colourfully described the prime minister as the “little” Tory leader, and added: “The prime minister is a rather diminutive, diminished and degraded politician.
“He made a party political statement. I don’t care about Rishi Sunak’s attitude. What I care about is that the returning officer, a man of unimpeachable integrity I’m sure you’ll agree, declared it a free and fair election and me as the winner.
“And Rishi Sunak is one of the crushed two big parties in the state.”
‘Suck it up’
The prime minister was not alone in his concerns about the former Labour MP’s return to the House of Commons.
Sir Keir Starmer apologised to voters for the result in Rochdale, and said Mr Galloway “only won because Labour didn’t stand a candidate“.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews added that the by-election marked “a dark day” for the UK’s Jewish community.
Richard Tice also claimed that campaigners for Reform suffered “daily intimidation and slurs” in the Greater Manchester constituency.
But when asked by Mr Coates about the allegations of intimidation, Mr Galloway said: “You have to just suck it up. I won the election.”
Clapham: Moped rider opens fire with ‘shotgun’ while being chased by Met Police
A moped rider being chased by police has fired shots, wounding three people in south London.
Two of them suffered shotgun pellet injuries while a third was hurt by the moped, but none are believed to be in a life-threatening condition.
Officers were pursuing the vehicle, being ridden by two people, after it failed to stop in the Clapham area just before 5pm on Friday, the Metropolitan Police said.
A firearm, believed to be a shotgun, was fired from the moped near Clapham Common South Side.
The suspects then fled the scene and officers are trying to trace the moped. No arrests have been made.
The London Ambulance Service said its crews had taken two people to a major trauma centre in the capital, while the third was treated in hospital.
The Met said: “A crime scene is in place and urgent enquiries to trace the moped are ongoing. Firearms officers are searching the area.”
Several roads have been cordoned off.
A local barber, who gave his name as Kaka, said he was left “shocked” after hearing shooting close to his shop near Clapham Common.
He said: “I was in the shop just before 5pm and I heard a gunshot up the road. We were all shocked because it was so close, the police were everywhere afterwards.”
PM rails against ‘extremist forces trying to tear us apart’ in Downing Street address
Rishi Sunak has railed against “extremist forces trying to tear us apart” during a Downing Street address to the nation.
The prime minister said there has been a “shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality” and added that “now our democracy itself is a target”.
He also described the Rochdale by-election result on Thursday night as “beyond alarming”, and claimed “our streets have been hijacked by small groups who are hostile to our values” as he urged the need to “beat this poison”.
His surprise speech came after the victory of maverick politician George Galloway in the Greater Manchester seat, following a campaign dominated by the highly-emotive issue of Gaza and dogged by accusations of abuse and intimidation.
In response, Mr Galloway told Sky News he “despised” the prime minister and did not care what he thought as he had won “a free and fair election”.
Community tensions in the UK have heightened against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas conflict, triggered by the militant attack on 7 October.
In the face of ongoing pro-Palestinian protests, MPs have spoken of their experiences of receiving death threats and their concerns for the safety of their families, prompting the government to announce an extra £31m to protect elected representatives.
It followed chaotic scenes in Westminster over the vote on a ceasefire in Gaza, when Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle broke with precedent in his handling of proceedings because he had concerns about the intimidation suffered by some parliamentarians, sparking a backlash.
But critics argue members of the ruling party have stoked divisions, highlighting former deputy Tory chairman Lee Anderson being stripped of the party whip after he accused London mayor Sadiq Khan of being controlled by Islamists, and former home secretary Suella Braverman referring to protests as “hate marches”.
Mr Sunak said: “In recent weeks and months, we have seen a shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality.
“What started as protests on our streets have descended into intimidation, threats and planned acts of violence.
“Jewish children fearful to wear their school uniform lest it reveals their identity. Muslim women abused in the street for the actions of a terrorist group they have no connection with.
“Now our democracy itself is a target. Council meetings and local events have been stormed. MPs do not feel safe in their homes. Long-standing parliamentary conventions have been upended because of safety concerns.
“And it’s beyond alarming that last night, the Rochdale by-election returned a candidate that dismisses the horror of what happened on 7 October, who glorifies Hezbollah and is endorsed by Nick Griffin, the racist former leader of the BNP.”
He added: “We are a country where we love our neighbours and we are building Britain together.
“But I fear that our great achievement in building the world’s most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracy is being deliberately undermined.
“There are forces here at home trying to tear us apart.”
He went on: “Islamist extremists and far rights groups are spreading a poison, that poison is extremism.”
Mr Sunak announced a “new robust framework” would be introduced to “ensure we are dealing with the root cause of this problem”.
The prime minister said ministers would redouble their support for the anti-terrorism Prevent programme, demand universities stop extremist activity on campus and act to prevent people from entering the country whose “aim is to undermine its values”.
In an appeal to those taking part in pro-Palestinian protests, Mr Sunak said: “Don’t let the extremists hijack your marches. You have a chance in the coming weeks to show that you can protest decently, peacefully and with empathy for your fellow citizens.
“Let’s prove these extremists wrong and show that even when we disagree we will never be disunited from our common values of decency and respect.
“I love this country, my family and I owe it so much. The time has now come for us all to stand together to combat the forces of division and beat this poison.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer backed Mr Sunak’s call.
In a statement, he said: “The prime minister is right to advocate unity and to condemn the unacceptable and intimidatory behaviour that we have seen recently.
“It is an important task of leadership to defend our values and the common bonds that hold us together.
“Citizens have a right to go about their business without intimidation and elected representatives should be able to do their jobs and cast their votes without fear or favour.
“This is something agreed across the parties and which we should all defend.”
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