The Dutch translation of Omid Scobie’s royal expose, Endgame, was dramatically pulled from shelves after identifying senior royals at the heart of a racism scandal involving the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
But speculation has continued to grow that the publishing fiasco, which reignited an ugly row that rocked the British monarchy two years ago, was in fact a stunt designed to boost sales of the book.
Scobie insists the identification of the royals – one of whom was named, and the other alluded to – was simply a “translation error” in his scathing takedown on the Windsors.
“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 is being fixed,” he said.
However, royal experts have questioned whether it is possible to “mistranslate two names” after copies of the book in the Netherlands appeared to identify the two royals said to have expressed concerns about the skin colour of Meghan Markle’s future son Archie.
Royal commentator Michael Cole, a former BBC royal correspondent, told GB News: “It’s one thing if it was an innocent error by the Dutch publishers. It’s quite another if this was a publicity stunt to sell more copies of this book.
“Making the charge of racism is pernicious. It’s an easy charge to make and it’s extremely difficult to refute because you have to prove a negative. And whether that’s a royal person or anybody else, it’s a very ugly allegation to make.”
Veteran royal reporter Phil Dampier told MailOnline: “It’s very hard to believe that this error occurred due to a problem with the translation, and I’ve not seen the Dutch publisher claim this is what happened. How can you mistranslate two names? It just doesn’t make sense.”
Dutch journalist Rick Evers, who had read the translated version, also told Good Morning Britain co-host Richard Madeley that he didn’t believe the names were included due to “translation errors”, as Scobie suggested, adding that “something has been erased” in the Dutch version.
“I can’t believe that it was a translation error,” he said. “We saw some passages were missing in the English version. Like, five sentences between the first and third part that wasn’t in the English version. So, something has been erased during the work that has been done for the book.
He said he believes the names were in Scobie’s original manuscript but that “legal agents” advised against them being included in the final version.
The Independent has contacted representatives for Scobie for comment.
During Harry and Meghan’s infamous 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duchess of Sussex claimed there was speculation about the skin colour of their first child, Archie.
“In those months when I was pregnant… we have in tandem the conversation of ‘He won’t be given security. He’s not going to be given a title,’ and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” she told Winfrey.
In Endgame, Scobie discusses the royal racism row that erupted in the aftermath of Meghan’s comments, writing that two members of the royal family expressed “concerns” about Archie’s complexion, rather than just one person as originally thought.
He writes that he is aware of their identities, but that “laws in the United Kingdom prevent me from reporting who they were”.