An indomitable King Charles III today brushed off the row over Endgame just before Omid Scobie appears on British TV today as Meghan and Harry were urged to sue their favoured royal reporter over the Dutch version of Endgame naming two royals as racists.
Royal experts and insiders have said there is anger at the heart of the British Royal Family over the scandal, heightened after Piers Morgan revealed the names on live TV last night.
The King has landed in Dubai where he will give a keynote speech at the COP28 climate change conference. When asked by Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu how he was, the monarch replied: ‘I’m all right very much, just about’.
He added: ‘Having had a rather ancient birthday recently recovering from the shock of that’ – a nod to turning 75 earlier this month.
Mr Scobie – nicknamed Meghan and Harry’s mouthpiece’ by critics – will hold his first British TV interview on ITV’s This Morning today. Some royal fans have urged people to boycott the show when he is on it.
The Royal Family is understood to be ‘considering all options’, including legal action, sources told MailOnline today.
King Charles III and President of Nigeria Bola Ahmed Tinubu during a bilateral meeting in a hotel in Dubai, as they attend the Cop28 summit
The Dutch translation of Mr Scobie’s book Endgame appeared to reveal the name of the person alleged to have made the comment. He will appear on This Morning today, pictured arriving at ITV Studios
Omid Scobie arriving at ITV studios in London today
The Royal Family is understood to be ‘considering all options’, including legal action. Pictured: Harry and Meghan at the Invictus Games in September. They are also being urged to sue
The Dutch version of Endgame, which has had to be pulled from bookshops
Charles, 75, kicked off his 48-hour trip – in which he will give an opening address as COP28 environmental summit – with a 30 minute bilateral with Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The pair met at a hotel in Dubai ahead of the conference to discuss energy, environment, the Commonwealth and likely the situation in Gaza and Israel.
The hunt for who leaked letters naming the royals to Omid Scobie is underway, but a senior Palace source said last night that it is ‘vanishingly unlikely’ that the ‘nasty and deliberate attack’ came from inside the royal household.
Legal experts have suggested that privacy-conscious Meghan and Harry should seek an injunction to seek to ban the reprinting of the names that appear in the Dutch translation pulled from the shelves 48 hours ago. It would also prove if the Sussexes were serious about building bridges with Harry’s family – having vowed not to reveal the names themselves.
Royal expert Phil Dampier believes that the scandal in Holland has caused more turmoil for the royals.
He told MailOnline: ‘They will be scratching their heads at Buckingham Palace and wondering what the best thing to do about this.
‘The fact these names have been out on the internet in this global world we live in, you can find out the names is farcical and therefore I can understand why Piers has done this. But whether it was a wise thing to do only time will tell’.
He added: ‘I don’t believe for one moment that either of the two people have been named are racists’.
Commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said: ‘What Omid Scobie is doing is proving that he is the ultimate figure when it comes to seeking sensation, I’m afraid. In his book Scobie makes clear he thinks the monarchy is in decline, possibly terminal decline. He has taken a chance in weird circumstances to embarrass it’.
Mr Scobie said that he had not named the royals in his book for legal reasons – only to pop up in the Dutch version, which he called an ‘error’.
A senior Palace source told The Sun: ‘That letter is under lock and key and no one from within the King’s circle would’ve briefed anyone about its contents.
‘In all likelihood, it must have been the Sussex camp which leaked the names. It’s a nasty and deliberate attack.’
One of Britain’s leading media lawyers, Mark Stephens, has urged the Sussexes to sue Omid Scobie for a privacy breach.
‘He’s let the cat out of the bag and they can also get the injunction against the world—and it could be the great rapprochement’, he said.
Mr Stephens told Newsweek: ‘You’re mainly looking to prevent him or anyone else from repeating information that should have never seen the light of day’.
‘The way that Harry and Meghan demonstrate that they didn’t want to see this in the public domain is by getting an injunction against the person who’s breached their confidence.
‘The moral imperative is that they must—given their widely known concerns about privacy and seeing another member of the family suffer as well as themselves suffer from an invasion of privacy—they would want to do everything they could to prevent it going further.’
On his TalkTV show last night, Piers Morgan named the two senior royals who Omid Scobie claims were the ones ‘with concerns’ over Prince Archie’s skin colour
Prince Archie is pictured with his parents at his christening in this official photograph taken in July 2019
Meghan Markle first made the claim in the Sussexes’ infamous 2021 Oprah Winfrey interview when she revealed there were ‘several conversations’ between herself, Harry and Royal Family members about ‘how dark’ Archie’s skin would be.
While the Duchess of Sussex chose not to name them amid fears it would ‘damage’ their reputation, Mr Morgan last night identified the royals accused on his Talk TV show – and he followed the claim up by posting it to his 8.7million social media followers.
On Tuesday it emerged that a Dutch translation of Scobie’s book containing the names had gone on sale in the Netherlands. Its publisher was forced to withdraw and pulp copies amid much-mocked claims that it was an error in translation.
The two senior royals accused had not been publicly named here until Morgan’s move last night.
Royal commentators have hit out at Scobie’s book Endgame, which one described as a ‘rant against the Royal Family’.
Morgan tried to justify his decision by arguing he was reacting to the witch-hunt caused by Harry and Meghan’s decision to air the race issue without giving any context or allowing a right to reply. The Royal Family later said the allegations were concerning but that ‘recollections may vary’.
The row has been reignited this week by Omid Scobie’s ‘poisonous’ royal book on the monarchy in which he said there was not one, but two senior royals, identified by the Duchess of Sussex in letters she subsequently wrote to King Charles on the issue the following year.
Morgan argued that it would enable people in the UK to have a ‘more open debate about this whole farrago’, saying: ‘Because I don’t believe any racist comments were ever made by any of the Royal Family, and until there is actual evidence of those comments being made, I will never believe it.
‘But now we can start the process of finding out if they ever got uttered, what the context was, and whether there was any racial intent at all – like I say, I don’t believe there was. The royals who are named in this book are …’
The Mail has chosen at this stage not to name the individuals involved and has redacted his quotes.
Morgan’s decision is likely to spark anger and disappointment at Buckingham Palace which had refused to be drawn on the row sparked by Scobie’s book and had likely been hoping that gossip on the subject would be restricted to internet and social media chatter.
Royal commentator Angela Levin told MailOnline: ‘I think it’s the wrong thing to do, because that, in a way, is helping Harry and Meghan to smirch the royals… to punish the royals and humiliate them.’
She said that Buckingham Palace will be ‘horrified’ by Morgan’s comments, adding: ‘It’s just so unnecessary and spiteful and nasty.
‘I think it’s very wrong of him to name it. I think we should all keep our mouths shut because we’re not on Omid’s side are we? He’s certainly not. He’s not on Harry’s or Meghan’s side, and I think it’s therefore a mistake.’
Fellow royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams agreed that Morgan ‘should not have named them’ and said that ‘the circumstances of this are extremely serious’.
He told MailOnline: ‘To suddenly seize the nation’s attention and propel yourself forward in this way, I think, is absolutely shameful, and it just shows that certain individuals would do anything to get publicity.’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with their baby son Archie in South Africa in September 2019
Copies of the book Endgame by British journalist and writer Omid Scobie are sold at a bookstore in London. The Dutch edition of book on the British royal family has been temporarily removed from the shelves in the Netherlands over an error
The original claim was made by Meghan Markle in the Sussexes’ infamous 2021 Oprah Winfrey interview (pictured) when she revealed there were ‘several conversations’ between herself, Harry and Royal Family members about ‘how dark’ Archie would be
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are pictured in Australia in 2018
Mr Fitzwilliams described Scobie’s book as a ‘rant against the royal family’ and said this is ‘precisely what he wanted to happen’. ‘It just so happens that he’s got this from Piers Morgan,’ he added.
He continued: ‘The circumstances which led to the names appearing in the Dutch copy of Endgame have not been explained and must surely involve Scobie in being told the names by the Sussexes, rather than friends of as it is so sensitive.
‘Yet they both deny collaboration, this surely be false. In his book Scobie makes clear he thinks the monarchy is in decline, possibly terminal decline.
‘He has taken a chance in weird circumstances to embarrass it. He has been aided by the appalling judgement of Piers Morgan in speaking out.’
Mr Fitzwilliams said that Piers could have chosen to hold off which ‘would have given the Palace and others a chance to collect their faults and see what they wanted to do’ but has instead caused a ‘very considerable furore’.
Sussex insiders have said that Harry and Meghan had nothing to do with Scobie’s book. Scobie has been friendly with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the past and co-wrote their biography Finding Freedom.
Royal author Phil Dampier said that withholding the name of the royals until now ‘has been incredibly unfair to other members of the Royal Family because speculation has been rife’.
He added: ‘They simply were making an inquiry or an observation that apparently is perfectly normal and acceptable among many black and mixed race families.
‘Harry himself has rode back and said he and Meghan never accused anybody of being racists. So the whole thing has been blown up out of all proportion and maybe in some ways it’s better to be out in open so we can have a frank and honest discussion about it.’
Mr Dampier believes that the Royal Family may have to change the late Queen’s policy of ‘never complain, never explain’, adding: ‘I think they will be scratching their heads at Buckingham Palace and wondering what the best thing to do about this is.’
He continued: ‘The fact these names have been out on the internet in this world we live in… is farcical and therefore I can understand why Piers has done this. But whether it was a wise thing to do only time will tell.’
Scobie claimed in the English version of his book Endgame that although he knew the names of the two individuals involved – and had hinted even more clues heavily on US media in recently days – he could not name them because of strict libel laws in the UK.
Meanwhile pressure was mounting on Scobie last night to explain how a second member of the Royal Family was named in a Dutch translation of his book.
Neither Meghan nor Prince Harry have named the individual involved since talking about it in their bombshell 2021 Oprah Winfrey interview, prompting fevered speculation over the identity of the ‘royal racist’.
Scobie and his Netherlands-based publishers were forced to pull the book from the shelves and put its launch on hold but dismissed it as a ‘translation error’. Scobie then insisted on Dutch television that ‘there was no version from me in which names were mentioned’.
Yesterday, however, it emerged that a second name had also been published in the Dutch version – 200 pages later – alongside a repeat of the first. And this time it was not just a word, but a sentence.
It read: ‘Even after Meghan and Charles by letter discussed about possible unconscious bias within the family, after it was revealed that…[redacted] and… [redacted] had participated in these kinds of discussions about Archie,.. [redacted] avoided discussing the subject with… [redacted].’
Omid Scobie before the Platinum Jubilee service at St Paul’s Cathedral on June 3, 2022
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with their children Archie and Lilibet in December 2021
A redacted version of an English translation of the Dutch version of Omid Scobie’s Endgame posted by Rick Evers, a royal journalist based in the Netherlands who has a copy of the book
Moreover, while the English version and other translations have Scobie writing that he can’t name those he believes were involved due to legal curbs, there is no such statement in the Dutch edition.
Publishing experts yesterday questioned how such a monumental blunder could have occurred.
Some speculated that Dutch publisher Xander Uitgevers could have been sent an early draft in which the two royals were intentionally named, before legal advice was given and the identities removed.
Sources in the Netherlands pointed out it was a small firm, unlike literary giant Harper Collins which is bringing out Endgame in the US and Britain.
‘Perhaps someone didn’t see a memo which instructed them to remove certain paragraphs due to legal issues, or someone from America just forgot to send the revised manuscript to this tiny little country in Europe?’ they asked. ‘There doesn’t seem to be any other explanation than it was in there in the first place.’
Dutch royal journalist, Rick Evers, who first spotted the discrepancy, added: ‘If you compare the English and Dutch versions, it is very clear there are significant discrepancies between the two.
‘The Dutch version has extra paragraphs containing names that the English language version does not have. So this cannot be a ‘translation’ error. It suggests they were in the version that was sent to the Dutch publishers in the first place. It is impossible otherwise.’
Ms Levin said the ‘mistranslation’ was ‘nonsense’, adding: ‘This is a trick of some sort. I think this is a way of getting more publicity, which, indeed, he’s got.
‘And I think Harry should sue him for doing that. I think he should sue him for invading privacy.
‘And if he does nothing, I mean, it’s too terrible for words. He won’t be invited for Christmas. It’s a very odd situation.’
Scobie, who has received many negative reviews for his critical tome, admitted an ‘error’ had occurred but did not repeat his claim that he had ‘never’ written a version including the names.
He said: ‘Having only written and edited the English version of Endgame, I can only comment on that manuscript – which does not name the two individuals who took part in the conversation.
‘I’m happy to hear that the error in the translation of the Dutch edition book is being fixed.’ Xander confirmed an ‘error’ had occurred and said the ‘rectified’ edition will be on sale from December 8.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment, with PR expert Mark Borkowski saying: ‘These spats and tittle tattle will just run out. If [Harry’s memoir] Spare didn’t do anything to dislodge the royal brand, some journalist whose credibility is under question is not going to do anything.’