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Home / News / Harry and Meghan are urged to end their ‘deafening silence’ on racism row after it was re-ignited by their ‘mouthpiece’ Omid Scobie – as King Charles ‘considers all options’ and palace officials weigh up legal action

Harry and Meghan are urged to end their ‘deafening silence’ on racism row after it was re-ignited by their ‘mouthpiece’ Omid Scobie – as King Charles ‘considers all options’ and palace officials weigh up legal action

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been urged to speak out and back King Charles and Princess Catherine amid suggestions Buckingham Palace could take legal action amid the Omid Scobie race row.

The Duke and Duchess and Sussex have been told to end their ‘deafening silence’ after the King himself and his daughter-in-law were named as the royals alleged to have made remarks about the skin colour of Prince Archie.

High profile public figures have rallied in support of the pair after they were named first in a Dutch translation of Scobie’s new book, Endgame, and then reported by the BBC on Friday morning morning.

Sources close to the Duchess of Sussex, who allegedly wrote down the names of the two family members in letters to King Charles, have insisted to that she ‘never intended them to be publicly identified’ and that it ‘was not leaked to Mr Scobie by anyone in her camp, the Telegraph reports.

But one source close to the Royal Family insisted Harry and Meghan should speak out on the matter, telling the paper: ‘For the couple that talked about ‘death by a thousand no comments’, the silence at this point is deafening.’

King Charles (pictured at COP28 in Dubai) is said to be considering all options including legal action

King Charles (pictured at COP28 in Dubai) is said to be considering all options including legal action 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (pictured in Sydney in 2018) have been urged to break their silence as the row continues

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (pictured in Sydney in 2018) have been urged to break their silence as the row continues

Endgame author Omid Scobie (pictured on This Morning on Thursday) has refused to apologise to the royals concerned

Endgame author Omid Scobie (pictured on This Morning on Thursday) has refused to apologise to the royals concerned

Another insider added that the decision not to respond was ‘interesting’ given the Sussexes’ previous complaints about not being supported against negative press stories.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called the comments ‘not remotely racist’ and insisted they were ‘entirely innocent and utterly normal’ ahead of the birth of a child.

Meanwhile, Sir Trevor Phillips, the former head of the Commission for Racial Equality, called it a ‘nonsense story’ and said the comments were ‘a mark of excitement, I suspect’.

The King is said to be taking the taking the furore over the book ‘very seriously’ and will consult senior advisers next week on the family’s next step, with ‘all options’ including legal action set to be considered.

The Mail understands that Buckingham Palace has been internally investigating who could have seen the letters from their end.

They are considered so deeply personal that only a ‘tiny handful’ of people are believed to have seen them and there is ‘extreme confidence’ that the leak didn’t come from them.

It comes as Scobie, appearing on BBC‘s flagship Newsnight programme, said he was ‘hurt’ and ‘frustrated’ by the week’s events.

But he refused to apologise to the royals concerned, saying: ‘It’s not for me to apologise because I still want to know what’s happened.’ He has previously described it as a ‘translation error’ but says an ‘investigation’ has now been launched.

The King (pictured at COP28 in Dubai) is taking the furore over the Omid Scobie book 'very seriously' and will consult senior advisors next week on the family's next step

The King (pictured at COP28 in Dubai) is taking the furore over the Omid Scobie book ‘very seriously’ and will consult senior advisors next week on the family’s next step

Scobie, appearing on BBC 's flagship Newsnight programme (pictured), said he was 'hurt' and 'frustrated' by the week's events

Scobie, appearing on BBC ‘s flagship Newsnight programme (pictured), said he was ‘hurt’ and ‘frustrated’ by the week’s events

The two royals were named in a Dutch-language edition of the ill-reviewed Endgame (pictured) as having been identified by Meghan over claims 'concern' was expressed about her future son's skin colour

The two royals were named in a Dutch-language edition of the ill-reviewed Endgame (pictured) as having been identified by Meghan over claims ‘concern’ was expressed about her future son’s skin colour

Sources close to the Duchess of Sussex , who allegedly wrote down the names of the two family members in letters to King Charles, have insisted to that she ‘never intended them to be publicly identified’ and that it ‘was not leaked to Mr Scobie by anyone in her camp’, according to the Telegraph

The King was last night due to arrive back in Britain from Dubai, where he gave a well-received keynote speech at the COP28 climate conference, and head straight for his Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

Aides have been keen for the furore not to derail his big moment but will resume discussions next week as to where they go next.

They have, it is understood, been ‘greatly encouraged’ by the sympathetic public reaction to Scobie’s revelations, which may have a bearing on their final decision.

Although it was billed as a look ‘inside the royal family and the monarchy’s fight for survival’, Endgame’s relentlessly savage tone, attacks on the Princess of Wales – whom the author describes as a ‘pliable’ Stepford wife and a part-time royal because of her devotion to her children – has seen it roundly denounced and attracted a slew of eye-wincingly brutal reviews.

On Newsnight Scobie took the extraordinary step on swearing on ‘my family’s life’ that the leaking of the names was not a ‘stunt’ to shift more books.

He said he was ‘hurt’ by the suggestion and dismissed it as a conspiracy theory by people who want to believe he is in ‘cahoots’ with the Duchess of Sussex.

Aides have been keen for the furore not to derail Charles' big moment at Cop28 but will resume discussions next week as to where they go next

Aides have been keen for the furore not to derail Charles’ big moment at Cop28 but will resume discussions next week as to where they go next

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

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

Dutch translator Saskia Peeters (pictured yesterday) who worked on Omid Scobie's controversial book has insisted the names of two royals at the centre of racism scandal were in the manuscript she was sent

Saskia Peeters and Nellie Keukelaar-van Rijsbergern (pictured) are named in the preface to the book 'Endgame'

Dutch translators Saskia Peeters (left) and Nellie Keukelaar-van Rijsbergern (right) who worked on Omid Scobie’s controversial book have insisted the names of two royals at the centre of racism scandal were in the manuscript they were sent

Their claims appear to contradict Scobie's (pictured on This Morning) who has insisted that he did not include the names of the two royals

Their claims appear to contradict Scobie’s (pictured on This Morning) who has insisted that he did not include the names of the two royals

He claimed, clearly choosing his words carefully: ‘I am as frustrated as everyone else. The book I wrote, the book I edited, the book I signed off on, did not have names in it.’ 

However the Mail revealed this week that one of the two highly experienced translators responsible for the Dutch edition insisted that she had been given a manuscript with ‘the names of the royals there in black and white’.

And her co-translator said it was ‘unfair’ they were being blamed.

Significantly, The Netherlands version also omitted the legal explanation for not naming the royals that was contained in the English-language edition.

Many within the industry believe the only reasonable explanation is that the Dutch publishing house was given an early manuscript before it had been seen by lawyers and signed off.

Newsnight interviewer Victoria Derbyshire told Scobie: ‘In some version you must have written the names in and the wrong version has potentially gone to the people in charge of the rights around the world, I suppose.’ Scobie did not reply to this point.

He claimed he was still ‘proud’ of his book.

The alleged racist comments were made about 'concerns' over Prince Archie's skin colour

The alleged racist comments were made about ‘concerns’ over Prince Archie’s skin colour

The inclusion of the names led to 5,000 copies of the book ¿ called ¿Final Battle¿ (pictured) in Holland ¿ being withdrawn from sale on the bookshelves and pulped

The inclusion of the names led to 5,000 copies of the book – called ‘Final Battle’ (pictured) in Holland – being withdrawn from sale on the bookshelves and pulped

Royal insiders have told the Mail that there is complete ‘unity’ between Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace over their response to the incident, which has been described as deeply ‘upsetting’.

There is also immense sadness and anger at what has been described as a ‘terrible injustice’ for those involved.

King Charles has spent his entire life trying to promote interfaith and cultural harmony and helped thousands of young people, many from disadvantaged and ethnic minority communities, to achieve their potential through his charity the Prince’s Trust.

But showing their mettle, the king and the princess have continued with their programme of public engagements and have several commitments lined up for next week, including the recording of Kate’s now annual carol service at Westminster Abbey.

Security minister Tom Tugendhat described the claims as ‘scuttlebutt’ and ‘unproven’.

He told Talk TV: ‘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 people as Prince of Wales.

‘So frankly I see this as just rumour, hearsay and an attempt to disparage someone who’s served our country with enormous dignity and enormous grave for many, many years.’

REBECCA ENGLISH: As King Charles lands back in UK from Dubai there will be no time for quiet reflection… instead he will be forced to ruminate on how he plans to address yet another Sussex-shape storm cloud on his horizon amid Omid Scobie book fallout 

The King was due back at Sandringham last night after jetting straight to the countryside fresh from his well-received address in Dubai.

As is his habit at this time of year, he plans to spend the weekend striding around the late Queen’s beloved Norfolk estate wearing his favourite patched green tweed jacket and cap, pruning clippers in hand.

It should be a time for quiet reflection on a job well done in the UAE, where he was the only foreign head of state invited to address the annual United Nations climate change conference. 

At the age of 75, Charles also managed to cram in half a dozen or so bi-lateral meetings with world leaders, discussing everything from net zero to the crisis in the Middle East.

Instead, he will be forced to spend a rare moment of leisure ruminating on how he plans to address yet another Sussex-shaped storm cloud on his horizon. 

King Charles (at Cop28) will be forced to spend a rare moment of leisure ruminating on how he plans to address yet another Sussex-shaped storm cloud on his horizon

King Charles (at Cop28) will be forced to spend a rare moment of leisure ruminating on how he plans to address yet another Sussex-shaped storm cloud on his horizon

It was Meghan who first alleged that family members raised 'concerns' about 'how dark' Archie would be

It was Meghan who first alleged that family members raised ‘concerns’ about ‘how dark’ Archie would be

The row over who said what has been lurking in the Royal Family’s rear-view mirror ever since Meghan first ‘weaponised’ conversations Harry had with family members in which she alleged ‘concern’ was raised about ‘how dark’ their son’s skin might be and what that would ‘potentially’ mean for the family.

Although the word racism wasn’t used during her bombshell 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, the inference was clear (Harry himself used the phrase ‘unconscious bias’ to describe it earlier this year and predictably – ludicrously – blamed the resulting furore on ‘the British Press’).

It’s fair to say the global uproar re-ignited by Omid Scobie’s ‘poisonous’ book on the Royal Family and the naming of two royals – reported to be the King himself and the Princess of Wales – in a Dutch-language edition of Endgame was an ‘unwelcome’ distraction for His Majesty in an immensely important week for him as an international statesman.

Although leaks had already emerged by last weekend that Scobie intended to refer to two members of the Royal Family, not one, palace officials had hoped the revelation would be a storm in a teacup and had refused to engage with the subject.

All that changed on Tuesday, when a local journalist in the Netherlands revealed the names were included in the Dutch-language edition of the book.

The journalist later told me he had been in possession of a review copy book for a week, waiting for the embargo to lift, and couldn’t understand why British news websites weren’t running the same ‘scoops’ as him.

An hour later he received a panicked call from a small local publisher demanding he take down his story about ‘Koning Charles’ from the Libelle website, which he refused to do, because there was a massive blunder in the translation.

Scobie, appearing on BBC 's flagship Newsnight programme (pictured), said he was 'hurt' and 'frustrated' by the week's events

Scobie, appearing on BBC ‘s flagship Newsnight programme (pictured), said he was ‘hurt’ and ‘frustrated’ by the week’s events

I was the first journalist to contact publisher Xander Uitgevers who personally confirmed it was true. I was also the first to call Buckingham Palace to break the news and seek comment.

It’s fair to say their reaction was one of quiet shock. Many will ask why royal aides didn’t immediately seek to get an injunction on the book.

But it was a rapidly developing situation and there was immense confusion as to how it could even have happened.

Was it an ‘error in translation’ as was initially claimed, or had Scobie – as now seems likely – deliberately intended to ‘out’ the royals concerned at the start of his project, before being warned off by lawyers concerned over the UK’s strict libel laws.

Unfortunately for him – as the Mail exclusively revealed this week – it seems that an early draft of his manuscript was sent to the two entirely innocent (and highly experienced) Dutch translators who faithfully reproduced what they had been given.

For the first 48 hours the Palace held the line that it would not comment.

It was clear they wished to see how it would land, although calls were already flying between London and Dubai, where the advance party of the King’s team had just landed.

And it was equally clear that officials were desperate the scandal didn’t derail the King’s big COP28 moment. As one source said: ‘Sometimes the Palace need to act very quickly and other times they need to act carefully and with great thought. This was one of those times.

It was equally clear that officials were desperate the scandal didn't derail the King's big COP28 moment

It was equally clear that officials were desperate the scandal didn’t derail the King’s big COP28 moment

‘Queen Elizabeth took three days after the Oprah interview to issue a rare public statement because she and her advisers recognised, given the seriousness of the allegations that had been made, she should not be bounced into doing something because of the headlines. It was a case of caution in abundance and when she spoke, people listened.’

What was abundantly clear to me from speaking to multiple contacts, however, is that there was no ‘push back’ on the names that had been suggested.

I was also told Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace were acting with complete ‘unity’ on the issue.

On Wednesday night, TalkTV presenter Piers Morgan took it upon himself to name the King and Kate, drastically raising the stakes.

By the following morning I was clearly and unequivocally told the Palace was now ‘considering all options’, which included the possibility of legal redress.

While it is highly unusual for Buckingham Palace to go down such a route, one informed source pointed out to me that it is not unheard of.

They recalled three occasions that the Palace had involved lawyers and each had been successful: The Sun’s suggestion that the late Queen backed Brexit (for which a front page apology was secured), William and Kate’s suing of a French magazine over topless photographs of the then duchess, and the King’s High Court battle over the publication of travel diaries.

‘It’s not something the Palace does lightly, but there is precedent. And they’ve won,’ my source said.

Behind the scenes, I understand that officials have also this week launched an investigation into who, if anyone, would have had access to, or even glimpsed, the letters passed between the monarch and the Duchess of Sussex over her allegations. They were considered so personal and so deeply private that all but a ‘tiny handful’ of family members and staff are known to have seen them.

The result? There is ‘extreme confidence’ at the Palace that the leak ‘didn’t come from us’.

Which is, of course, exactly what the Duchess of Sussex has also made known via her own sources, insisting that she never ‘intended’ for the names to become public and no one on her team leaked the letters’ contents to Scobie.

The public will have to decide whose version of events they believe.

It’s quite clear to me that, once again, ‘recollections may vary’.

Despite the accusations made by Meghan of ‘unconscious bias’ in her letters, one well-placed source tells me firmly: ‘It is only one person’s version, one side of the story.’

Which strongly suggests that behind Palace walls, those at the heart of events strongly dispute anything of the sort was even said – or could be considered to have been offensive.

Interestingly, while Meghan used the word ‘concern’ in her interview, it wasn’t repeated by a distinctly uncomfortable-looking Harry, who only said it was an ‘awkward’ conversation.

So where do things go from here? I’m told the Palace’s main focus, despite the furore, has been to get through COP28 and the King’s important appearance.

But conversations will start again in earnest next week when the team are back at Buckingham Palace about what their next move is.

It is something they are taking ‘extremely seriously’ and legal action still hasn’t been ruled out.

There is also immense sadness and anger at what has been described to me as a ‘terrible injustice’ to those involved. Some feel the Royal Family should address such mendacious smears in public once and for all.

But that, of course, comes with the risk of another very public falling out with the Sussexes, who had, for once, appeared equally keen to put the whole matter to bed.

One thing is for certain: That rumoured invitation to Christmas dinner for Harry and Meghan looks vanishingly unlikely.


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