A government minister has praised two senior royals named in a new book as having a conversation about Archie’s skin colour before he was born.
On Friday, the identities of King Charles and the Princess of Wales spread on social media and multiple news outlets after Dutch copies of Endgame by Omid Scobie that identified the pair were pulled from the shelves in the Netherlands.
On Wednesday, Piers Morgan became the first high-profile journalist to name the pair on his TalkTV show saying the British public had a right to know as Dutch readers were aware of their identities. He criticised Harry and Meghan for making the initial claim and allowing the row to escalate.
On Thursday night, security minister Tom Tugendhat told Jeremy Kyle on TalkTv after being confronted with the names: “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 the British people as Prince of Wales.
“So frankly I see this as just rumour, hearsay and an attempt to disparage somebody who’s served our country with enormous dignity and enormous grace for many, many years.”
Scobie has strongly denied including the names in any transcript of his book. Buckingham Palace is said to be considering all options, which may include the possibility of legal action, according to some reports.
Here, Yahoo News UK rounds up who has said what in the row.
Meghan Markle, Oprah Winfrey interview, 8 March 2021
Harry and Meghan first make the claim a royal asked about their son’s skin colour when they are interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in 2021.
Oprah Winfrey: “If he [Archie] were too brown, that would be a problem? Are you saying that?”
Meghan Markle: “I wasn’t able to follow up with why but if that’s the assumption you’re making i think that feels like a pretty safe one… There were concerns and conversations about dark his skin might be when he was born.”
OW: “Who is having that conversation with you? There’s a conversation with you-“
MM: “With Harry.”
OW: “…About how dark your baby is going to be?”
MM: Potentially – and what that would mean or look like.”
OW: “And you’re not gonna tell me who had the conversation?”
MM: “I think that would be very damaging to them.”
Prince Harry, Oprah Winfrey interview, 8 March 2021
After Meghan‘s claims about a royal asking about Archie‘s skin colour, Harry was also asked to comment on the claims by Winfrey.
Prince Harry: “That conversation, I am never going to share. But at the time it was awkward. I was a bit shocked.“
Oprah Winfrey: “Can you tell us what the question was?”
PH: “No. I’m not comfortable with sharing that.”
The Queen, 9 March 2021
Buckingham Palace releases a statement on behalf of the Queen the day after the Oprah Winfrey interview airs.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning.
“While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
Prince William, 11 March 2021
Days after the airing of the bombshell interview, Prince William is questioned by a reporter while he and wife Kate tour a school in Stratford.
Reporter: “Is the royal family a racist family, sir?”
William: “We’re very much not a racist family.”
Prince Harry, Tom Bradby interview, 8 January 2023
Harry gives a major interview ahead of the publication of his book, Spare, in which he is asked about Meghan’s comments to Oprah Winfrey.
Tom Bradby: “In the Oprah interview you accused members of your family of racism.”
Prince Harry: “No we didn’t. The British press said that.”
PH: “Did Meghan ever mention that they were racist?”
TB: “She said there were troubling comments about Archie’s skin.”
PH: “Yeah there were concerns about his skin colour.”
TB: “Right. Wouldn’t you describe that as essentially racist?”
PH: “I wouldn’t.”
Meghan Markle letter, April 2023
It is reported in the Telegraph that Meghan sent letters to Charles in the aftermath of the Oprah interview, expressing her concerns about unconscious bias in the Royal Family.
In correspondence seen by The Telegraph, Charles expressed sadness over the rift in the family and disappointed that his son and daughter-in-law made damaging allegations during a high-profile interview.
According to the newspaper, Meghan thanked Charles for the letter, where he acknowledged that Meghan’s remarks were not made with malice.
However, Meghan is also said to have suggested that while never intended to specifically accuse the individual involved of racism, she was raising concerns about unconscious bias.
Omid Scobie, 28 November 2023
Speaking on Dutch chat show RTL Boulevard, Scobie denied naming the individual in his book.
He said: “The book is in several languages, and unfortunately I do not speak Dutch. But if there are translation errors, I’m sure the publishers will have it under control.
"I wrote and edited the English version. There’s never been no version that I’ve produced that has names in it.”
Piers Morgan, 29 November 2023
During his TalkTV show, Piers Morgan Uncensored, Morgan named the two royals identified in the Dutch version of Endgame.
Defending his decision to do so, he 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.
“Then we can have a more open debate about this whole farrago 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 if there was any racial intent at all.”
Buckingham Palace has not commented on the most recent developments.