The BBC has named the King and the Princess of Wales as the members of the Royal family at the centre of a racism row.
Radio 4’s Today programme announced the names to its listeners, just an hour after saying the corporation would not be disclosing them.
The decision is understood to have been taken by senior news executives, after multiple British newspapers and broadcasters identified the pair as the royal figures said to have commented on the colour of Prince Archie’s skin.
The names were first made public in the Dutch edition of Omid Scobie’s book Endgame, in what has been described as an error.
After the names spread around the world online, Piers Morgan announced them on his Talk TV show, arguing it was farcical that Dutch readers knew the identities while those in the UK did not.
On Thursday, the BBC initially insisted it would not be naming the royal figures.
But on Friday morning, Jonny Dymond, the BBC’s royal correspondent, said: “Dutch editions of the book named the King and the Princess of Wales as the two members of the Royal family who allegedly raised the issue of the skin colour of Meghan’s first child.
“The circumstances and context of the discussion and the context in which the questions are raised is not clear.”
Shortly afterwards, Nick Robinson, a presenter on the Today programme, clarified: “To be clear, I told listeners about an hour ago, the BBC was not naming them, we are now naming the King and the Princess of Wales as being at the centre of those allegations.”
It is understood that the decision was finalised by senior news editors at the BBC, and now applies across the news division. The names have since been used on Radio 2 and online.
A BBC online news story, published at around the same time, states: “King Charles and Catherine, Princess of Wales, were the two royals named in the Dutch book.”
Endgame describes how the Duchess of Sussex, 42, sent a letter to the King, who at the time was Prince of Wales, in which she expressed concerns about unconscious bias in the Royal family.
The letter, as first revealed in The Telegraph, was sent in the wake of the Sussexes’ interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, in which the Duchess alleged that a member of the Royal family had speculated about the colour of her unborn son’s skin.
Mr Scobie reveals that the Duchess complained to the King about two people who had upset her with comments about Prince Archie’s skin tone.
However, in the English language version of the book, he stops short of naming them citing “laws in the UK”.
He has blamed the fact the identities were included in the Dutch edition on a translation error and denied that it was a marketing ploy.
The Dutch translator who worked on the book has denied that she had added the names, insisting she had simply worked on the manuscript she had been sent.
The senior members of the Royal family were both out on public duties on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
The King is at Cop28, where he has delivered an opening address to world leaders about climate change and undertaken multiple diplomatic meetings.
The Princess of Wales, along with the Prince, attended the Royal Variety Show in a display of full royal glamour, ignoring questions shouted about Mr Scobie’s book and its fallout as they walked in.
Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have so far declined to comment.