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Demand soars for Dutch first editions of book naming UK royals in race row

<span>Photograph: Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters

Dutch first editions of the book Endgame, which names two members of the British royal family alleged to have discussed the skin colour of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s unborn baby, are selling online for many times above the original retail price of €22.99.

As parts of the British press reached fever pitch trying to find out whether the Dutch version had contained a mistranslation, or had failed to adopt final excisions or was running a strange publicity stunt, bids for a Dutch version on Marktplaats on Thursday reached €175 (£150).

After first editions of Eindstrijd, the Dutch translation of Omid Scobie’s Endgame, went on sale, Dutch journalists said the book contained the names of two senior royals in connection with speculation about the potential skin colour of Harry and Megan’s son, Archie, on pages 128 and 334.

Jeroen van der Boom, a presenter on RTV Boulevard, held up the first edition, which he described as a “collector’s item”, on television on Wednesday and said: “I am holding my fingers on two passages, because two names are named.

“For days, the British press has been fishing for the names of two people who allegedly made comments at the time when Megan was pregnant with Archie. Senior royals allegedly asked themselves what his skin colour would have been and how dark Archie would be … On page 128 in the Dutch version is the name Charles, so he would be one of the two, and on page 334 is … ‘the Princess of Wales’.”

Scobie suggested in an interview with the programme that there must have been a translation error. “The book’s available in a number of languages and unfortunately I can’t speak Dutch so I haven’t seen the copy for myself but if there have been any translation errors, I’m sure the publisher’s got it under control,” he said on television. “There has never been a version I produced that has names in it.”

A journalist Rick Evers, who revealed the presence of the names in the book on X on Tuesday, said on social media that he believed it was clear who the second royal, referred to only by title, would have been.

Van der Boom speculated that the publisher had been instructed to remove certain names but had missed a couple. No translator’s name is visible in material about the book, which has disappeared from listings online, while books have been removed from Dutch stores.

The Dutch publisher Xander Uitgevers referred the Guardian to a statement on its website: “The rectified edition of Eindstrijd by Omid Scobie will be in bookstores on Friday 8 December. Xander Uitgevers temporarily removed the book from sale, due to an error that occurred in the Dutch edition.”