Omid Scobie's new royal book was pulled from stores in the Netherlands after its release on Tuesday.
The Dutch version reportedly named two royals said to have made racially insensitive remarks: King Charles and Kate Middleton.
Piers Morgan added fuel to the fire by announcing the purported names on his talk show on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, royal author Omid Scobie's new book, "Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy's Fight for Survival," hit bookstores, promising readers an "explosive" deep dive into the current state of the British monarchy and the royal family.
The book has truly been explosive, but perhaps not in the way Scobie intended.
Upon its release, multiple outlets including The Guardian and the BBC, reported that translated copies of the book in the Netherlands stopped being sold after it was discovered to have named a royal-family member said to have taken part in racially insensitive conversations about Prince Archie's skin tone: King Charles III. Later, the Telegraph reported that another section of the book appeared to reference a second royal who was involved: Kate Middleton.
In the aftermath, Buckingham Palace has declined Business Insider's requests for comment. Representatives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Kensington Palace also did not respond to BI's requests for comment.
As the fallout continues, look back at how the royal drama has unfolded.
In 2021, Meghan Markle said some royals had "concerns and conversations" about their unborn son's skin tone when she was pregnant with Prince Archie.
In one of the most talked-about moments of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's televised interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, Meghan said some members of the royal family had "concerns" about Prince Archie's skin tone.
"In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, 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," Meghan said.
Both she and Harry declined to name the royals who they said took part in the conversation, with Meghan telling Winfrey at the time that it "would be very damaging to them."
Winfrey later told CBS that the Duke of Sussex privately informed her that his grandparents, the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, weren't involved.
In a rare statement following the interview, Buckingham Palace said the royal family was addressing the couple's concerns "privately."
"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning," the palace said in the statement. "While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously."
In December 2022, Scobie announced he was working on a new book that would expose the "chaos" and "dysfunction" of the royal family.
The announcement came two years after Scobie, who told BI's Mikhaila Friel he has been reporting on the royals since 2011, released his bestselling co-authored book "Finding Freedom" about Meghan and Harry's royal exit.
According to Town and Country, the press release announcement of "Endgame" promised the book would "[pull] back the curtain on an institution in turmoil — exposing the chaos, family dysfunction, distrust and draconian practices threatening its very future."
"Endgame" was released on November 28, 2023. Shortly after, news broke that the Dutch version named a royal said to have made racist remarks.
Several outlets reported that a section of the version of "Endgame" published in the Netherlands directly names a royal said to have taken part in the discussions about Prince Archie's skin tone prior to his birth.
The English version was published in the US and UK by Harper Collins, which declined to comment on the matter when reached by BI.
Also on Tuesday, Dutch journalist Rick Evers shared screenshots and translations of the section naming the royal on X.
The passage, translated and shared by Evers, read: "During their conversation with Oprah, both Harry and Meghan declined to say who was present at that conversation (a representative for the couple only wanted to say that it was not the Queen or Prince Philip). 'I think that will be very damaging to them,' Meghan said. But in those private letters an identity was revealed and confirmed: Charles. The king, sources say, wanted to respond to make clear to Meghan that there was no ill will or bias when he spoke about his future grandson. 'He wanted to clarify something he felt was very important,' says a royal insider."
In response, Dutch publishing house Xander Uitgevers pulled "Endgame" from bookshelves on Tuesday, initially citing a translation "error."
In a statement obtained by the BBC, Xander Uitgevers' managing director, Anke Roelen, said that "an error occurred in the Dutch translation" and that "Endgame" was "temporarily" going to be removed from bookshelves while it was "being rectified."
Scobie also appeared to label the naming of the royals in the Dutch version of "Endgame" a translation error on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Scobie told RTL Boulevard, a daily chat show in the Netherlands, that he was not responsible for "translation errors" in the Dutch versions of "Endgame," according to The Guardian.
"The book is in several languages, and unfortunately I do not speak Dutch. But if there are translation errors, the publisher will correct them," he said. "I wrote the English version. There was no version from me in which names were mentioned."
On Wednesday, Evers shared a follow-up post on X saying the Dutch version of "Endgame" also implied Kate Middleton was involved in the racially insensitive conversation.
In a follow-up X post, Evers shared the name of a second royal that he said was implied to have been part of the racially insensitive conversation.
The passage, which Evers translated and shared online, read: "Even after Meghan and Charles by letter discussed about probably unconscious bias within the family, after it was revealed that the King and Princess of Wales took part in such conversations about Archie, Kate has avoided discussing the subject with her sister-in-law."
He elaborated on it during an appearance on "Good Morning Britain."
"The first one is very specific. The second one is a little bit vague, if it's, if this person is really involved in the story," Evers said. "But the first one is very clear, and the official way was that it was a translation issue and there are some debates about how these passages were stated in the book. I would say, how could you translate a name wrong?"
Also on Wednesday, Xander Uitgevers told BI that "Endgame" would be back on sale on December 8 in the Netherlands following an "error."
"The rectified edition of 'Eindstrijd' by Omid Scobie will be in bookstores on Friday 8 December," the statement read. "Xander Uitgevers temporarily removed the book from sale, due to an error that occurred in the Dutch edition."
Later on Wednesday evening, Piers Morgan announced the names of the purported royals on his talk show.
In the opening segment of Wednesday's "Piers Morgan Uncensored," the talk-show host criticized Scobie, calling the royal author a "client journalist" of the Duchess of Sussex. Morgan also shared his doubts about Scobie and Xander Uitgevers' claim that the error was related to translations.
"Scobie initially said it was a translation error, which didn't really make any sense, because how do you mistranslate names? They're either there or they're not," he said.
Later in the program, Morgan named Charles and Kate as the royals reportedly mentioned in the Dutch version of "Endgame."
Supporting his decision to share the names, Morgan said: "Frankly, if Dutch people wandering into a bookshop can pick it up and see these names, then you, British people, here, who actually pay for the British royal family, you're entitled to know too."
According to the BBC, Morgan's decision to disclose the names on national television has prompted Buckingham Palace to seek "legal action."
The Palace said "we're exploring all options" when asked by the BBC about reports if it is seeking legal advice.
Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to BI's request for comment on the matter.
Morgan's decision to name the royals implicated in "Endgame" sparked a prompt backlash.
ITV royal correspondent Chris Ship took to X to criticize Morgan's decision.
"The 2 royal names were never that hard to find & now Piers Morgan made it even easier by sharing them on his TV show," Ship wrote. "We should however remind ourselves what Harry himself said to @ITV about these remarks by his family: neither he nor Meghan ever said these comments were 'racist.'"
Ship was referencing a moment from Harry's sit-down interview with Tom Bradby in January, where the Duke of Sussex said he didn't think his family's comments about Archie's skin tone were racist, but rather a demonstration of their unconscious bias.
"Once it's been acknowledged and pointed out to you as an individual or as an institution, that you have unconscious bias, you then have an opportunity to learn and grow from that, in order so that you are part of the solution instead of part of the problem," the Duke of Sussex said.
Morgan responded to Ship's post on X saying that he should name them, too. "We should also remind ourselves that for two years the Sussexes let their unsubstantiated claims to Oprah be reported as meaning royals had been racist," he added.
On Thursday, Scobie appeared on ITV's "This Morning" and said most British journalists know the names of the royals said to have taken part in the discussion.
After "This Morning" cohost Craig Doyle said the naming of the royals in the Dutch translation felt like a "stunt to sell books" and that it was difficult to believe the error was a "mistranslation," Scobie said he was "as frustrated as everyone else."
"I make it very clear in this book that I, in every way possible want to adhere to the laws surrounding this subject," he said.
Nevertheless, Scobie went on to say that the "reality" is that he isn't the only reporter in the UK who is aware of the identities of the royals said to have made the racist remarks.
"This is information that is not privy just to me. Journalists across Fleet Street have known those names for a long time," he said. "I had never submitted a book that had their names in it."
However, later on Thursday, reports emerged in both the American and British press — including The New York Times and the Guardian — naming Charles and Kate as the royals at the center of the controversy.
The same day, Charles said he was "alright" after he was asked how he was doing by Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Amid all of the "Endgame" fallout, Charles arrived in Dubai on Thursday for the COP28 Climate Change Conference.
During a meeting with President Tinuba, Charles responded to a question of how he was doing by saying he was "all right," Daily Mail royals correspondent Rebbeca English reported on X.
"Asked how he was, His Majesty said: 'I'm all right very much, just about," she wrote. "'Having had a rather ancient birthday recently recovering from the shock of that!'"
Meanwhile, the Waleses appeared to dodge questions about the Dutch version of "Endgame" at the Royal Variety Performance in London.
The Prince and Princess of Wales joined the Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden at the Royal Variety Performance in London on Thursday evening.
Upon their arrival, however, Kate and William were asked repeatedly by reporters for comment about "Endgame" and the aftermath of the release of the Dutch version of the book, Page Six reported.
Questions the outlet reported journalists asked included: "Your Royal Highness, have you got a comment about Omid Scobie's book?" and "Did you watch the Piers Morgan show last night, Your Royal Highnesses?"
The couple did not respond to requests for comment and instead continued to walk the red carpet side-by-side, Page Six noted.
Later on Thursday, Xander also said the naming "error" was under investigation. Meanwhile, the book's Dutch translator told the Daily Mail there were names in the transcript she was given.
In a statement to BI on Thursday, Xander Uitgevers' managing director Anke Roelen said the publisher could not provide a further statement at this time but that they are "investigating " the error concerning the naming of the royals.
Also on Thursday, the Daily Mail's Paul Thompson reported that the Dutch translator's transcript had included the names of the royals said to have made the racist remarks, contrary to Scobie's repeated claims that no version of the book identified the family members in question.
"The names of the royals were there in black and white," Saskia Peeters told the Daily Mail. "I did not add them. I just did what I was paid to do and that was translate the book from English into Dutch." Peeters also said she worked to translate the book into Dutch with fellow translator Nellie Keukellar-van Rijsbergen.
Later in the evening – during an interview with BBC Two's Newsnight Scobie – reiterated that a "full investigation" is being conducted into how the names appeared in the Dutch version of "Endgame" when he said he did not include them in the book he "wrote" and "edited" in English.
He also said that he was frustrated and "hurt" that there were "conspiracy theories" circulating that it was all a "publicity stunt."
"All of this is frustrating because it feeds into something that couldn't be further from the truth," Scobie said. "And also, quite frankly, I've always felt the names weren't needed to have this discussion."
Roelen declined BI's request for comment on the matter. Peeters and Keukellar-van Rijsbergen did not respond to BI's request for comment.
On Sunday, a report surfaced that said Scobie's agent sent Xander Uitgevers a copy of "Endgame" containing the royals' names before the book's release date.
The Sunday Times' Ben Ellery and Lucy Bannerman reported that United Talent Agency, which represents Scobie, sent Xander Uitgevers an early copy of "Endgame" that named Charles and Kate as the royals said to have discussed Prince Archie's skin tone prior to his birth.
The publication cited an unnamed source who said the agency sent a draft manuscript of "Endgame" containing the names to the Dutch publishing house for translation before sending the company a final version — where the names were omitted — a few weeks before the book's release date.
It added that sending "early versions to foreign publishers" is common practice in the translation process for books in advance.
UTA and Xander Uitgevers declined BI's request to comment on The Sunday Times report.
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