New book reignites British royal race row

LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – Almost three years after Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey sent shockwaves through the British monarchy, their most sensational claim which provoked a royal race row has been reignited by a new book.

In the dramatic interview with the U.S. talk show host in 2021, Meghan, whose mother is Black and father is white, said while she was pregnant with son Archie there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born”.

The couple declined to say which unnamed royal had made the remarks, although Winfrey later clarified it was neither the late Queen Elizabeth nor her husband Prince Philip.

The furore led Buckingham Palace to issue a statement on behalf of the queen which pointedly said “recollections may vary”, and a denial the family were racist from now heir Prince William. Harry, the younger son of King Charles, said in a subsequent 2023 TV interview, neither he nor Meghan had accused anyone in their family of racism.

But a new book about the royals written by journalist Omid Scobie has brought the issue back to the fore, making front page news again Britain this week.

In his book “Endgame”, Scobie says the names of two figures involved were identified in private letters between Charles and Meghan following the Winfrey interview, but said he was prevented from naming them by UK laws.

However, on Tuesday, Xander Uitgevers, the Dutch publisher said it had temporarily removed the book from sale because of “an error” in the country’s edition in which the two royals were indeed named, although that particular paragraph does not appear at all in the English version.

“I edited and wrote the English version, there’s never been a version that I produced that has names in it,” Scobie told Dutch broadcaster RTL Boulevard this week.

KING IN DUBAI

In his TalkTV show on Wednesday, the royals allegedly involved were also named by British broadcaster Piers Morgan, a vocal critic of Harry and Meghan.

He described Scobie, who earlier this year referred to the former tabloid editor when he appeared as a witness for Harry in a phone-hacking court case, as the couple’s “lickspittle”.

Charles, who has campaigned on climate change and sustainability for more than 50 years, made no reference to the row when he kicked off a visit to Dubai where he is meeting world leaders and will be delivering the opening address to the COP 28 U.N. 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.

A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan declined to comment.

Neither Buckingham Palace nor any of the royal family’s offices have commented on the book, but the Daily Mail said officials were considering all options, including legal action.

“However the key thing for them is his majesty responding in the most eloquent way possible by getting on with business and not letting it distract from vastly more important issues regarding the future on the planet and bilaterals with other world leaders,” the paper quoted an unnamed source as saying.

Writing by Michael Holden;
Editing by Alison Williams

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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