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Published: 10:18, December 01, 2023 | Updated: 17:35, December 01, 2023
New book reignites British royal race row
By Reuters
Published:10:18, December 01, 2023 Updated:17:35, December 01, 2023 By Reuters

Meghan (left), Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex speak onstage at The Archewell Foundation Parents’ Summit: Mental Wellness in the Digital Age during Project Healthy Minds' World Mental Health Day Festival 2023 at Hudson Yards on Oct 10, 2023 in New York City. (PHOTO / AFP)

LONDON - Almost three years after Prince Harry and his wife Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey sent shockwaves through the British monarchy, their most sensational claim which provoked a royal race row has been reignited by a new book.

In the dramatic interview with the US talk show host in 2021, Meghan, whose mother is Black and father is white, said while she was pregnant with son Archie there were "concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born".

The couple declined to say which unnamed royal had made the remarks, although Winfrey later clarified it was neither the late Queen Elizabeth nor her husband Prince Philip.

The furore led Buckingham Palace to issue a statement on behalf of the queen which pointedly said "recollections may vary", and a denial the family were racist from now heir Prince William. Harry, the younger son of King Charles, said in a subsequent 2023 TV interview, neither he nor Meghan had accused anyone in their family of racism.

ALSO READ: Meghan to publish children's book based on Harry and son Archie

But a new book about the royals written by journalist Omid Scobie has brought the issue back to the fore, making front page news again Britain this week.

Britain's Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan hold their baby son Archie as they meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu (unseen) at the Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town on Sept 25, 2019. (PHOTO / AFP)

In his book Endgame, Scobie says the names of two figures involved were identified in private letters between Charles and Meghan following the Winfrey interview, but said he was prevented from naming them by UK laws.

However, on Tuesday, Xander Uitgevers, the Dutch publisher said it had temporarily removed the book from sale because of "an error" in the country's edition in which the two royals were indeed named, although that particular paragraph does not appear at all in the English version.

"I edited and wrote the English version, there's never been a version that I produced that has names in it," Scobie told Dutch broadcaster RTL Boulevard this week.

ALSO READ: Meghan and Harry name baby daughter after queen and Diana

King in Dubai

In his TalkTV show on Wednesday, the royals allegedly involved were also named by British broadcaster Piers Morgan, a vocal critic of Harry and Meghan.

He described Scobie, who earlier this year referred to the former tabloid editor when he appeared as a witness for Harry in a phone-hacking court case, as the couple's "lickspittle".

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave after attending a service of thanksgiving for the reign of Queen Elizabeth II at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, June 3, 2022 on the second of four days of celebrations to mark the Platinum Jubilee. (KIRSTY O'CONNOR / POOL PHOTO VIA AP)

Charles, who has campaigned on climate change and sustainability for more than 50 years, made no reference to the row when he kicked off a visit to Dubai where he is meeting world leaders and will be delivering the opening address to the COP 28 UN summit.

"I’m all right thank you very much, just about, having had a rather ancient birthday recently, recovering from the shock of that," the monarch, who celebrated his 75th birthday earlier this month, joked when he met Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu.

A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan declined to comment.

READ MORE: Victory for Duchess Meghan as UK tabloid's court appeal dismissed

Neither Buckingham Palace nor any of the royal family's offices have commented on the book, but the Daily Mail said officials were considering all options, including legal action.

"However the key thing for them is his majesty responding in the most eloquent way possible by getting on with business and not letting it distract from vastly more important issues regarding the future on the planet and bilaterals with other world leaders," the paper quoted an unnamed source as saying.

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