Prince William and Kate Middleton were “well aware of” conversations that were had in royal circles about the skin color of Harry and Meghan’s then-unborn first child Archie, according to Omid Scobie’s hotly anticipated new book on the royals, Endgame.
The book looks set to rekindle interest in the saga of the royal racism row triggered when Meghan told Oprah Winfrey of “concerns and conversations about how dark his Archie’s skin might be when he’s born.”
Scobie’s book is now likely to be carefully parsed for clues as to who might have made the comments. He says in the book that it was actually two people who made the remarks and he knows their identities, but cannot name them due to U.K. law.
While talking about William and Kate in the book, Scobie says that while William is “tolerant in his public role, a more complicated portrait emerges from his private life.”
Speaking about William’s work on “racial issues” such as an initiative seeking to combat racism in football, Scobie says these “look a tad opportunistic” because “he has yet to clear the air with his own brother regarding those cratering accusations of unconscious bias within the family.”
He says that while William “proclaimed,” after the Oprah Winfrey interview, “We are very much not a racist family,” “no one knew that, behind closed doors, some of the accusations his family was dealing with came from conversations about the Sussexes’ unborn son that he and his wife were well aware of.”
Scobie writes that the “issue” had been confronted by Charles, who had written to Meghan after the interview, but, he says, “the king also felt the Duchess of Sussex should discuss her feelings with the Waleses, too. Two years on, and neither Harry nor Meghan has received any word on the matter from William or Kate.”
A former staff member told Scobie: “The last thing they wanted was for people to start pointing fingers at the bosses [William and Kate].”
Scobie highlights reports saying that it was Kate who pushed for the line, “Recollections may vary,” to be included in Buckingham Palace’s official response to the interview, and says this suggests “the princess in particular may not agree with the Sussexes’ words.”
Scobie cites “a source close to the family” as saying, “The silence has caused a lot of confusion and upset.”
Prince Edward and his wife Sophie are also criticized in the book for remarks they have made. Scobie cites Sophie’s “joke” of responding “Oprah who?” when asked about the interview by a journalist, adding, “You know, if you’re not into chat shows, there’s no reason why you should know who she is. Certainly not in this country, anyway.”
Scobie points out that “the comments about the world’s most successful Black woman and one of the biggest faces in entertainment made them seem stuffy or tin-eared at best, and casually bigoted at worst.”
Scobie attacks Edward’s and Sophie’s lack of racial sensitivity again later in the book, writing that Edward offended Antigua’s prime minister Gaston Browne when “he guffawed in response to the prime minister’s suggestion that the Wessexes should use their “diplomatic influence” to help get “reparatory justice” for colonized Caribbean countries.
Scobie says that when Browne told him, “Our civilization should understand the atrocities that took place during colonialism and slavery, and the fact that we have to bring balance by having open discussions,” Edward replied: “I wasn’t keeping notes, so I’m not going to give you a complete riposte. But thank you for your welcome today.”
A source tells Scobie that in March 2021 Princess Michael of Kent said of Meghan at one Kensington Palace meeting, “We could already guess what someone like her would be like. I saw it coming from miles away.” She also allegedly said: “Meghan’s made it all about race because that what everyone does these days.”
Scobie reminds readers that Princess Michael had turned up wearing a Blackamoor brooch attached to her lapel at her first meeting with Meghan at a 2017 family Christmas lunch. She later apologized, but never directly to Meghan, Scobie writes. “I don’t think she particularly cared,” a source told Scobie.
Scobie also says that Queen Camilla until recently had a “giant blackamoor statue in the entrance hall (of her home)—a four-foot muscular Black man holding a lightbulb and lampshade high into the sky,” and that there were “blackamoor sconces hanging on the walls at Clarence House” until 2018.
Scobie undertakes a deep analysis of the royal family’s lack of commitment when it comes to tackling race-related and diversity issues both within the Commonwealth, and within palace walls when it comes to staffing—although Scobie also details King Charles and Prince William’s efforts to address matters in both arenas going forward.
The Daily Beast has reached out to Kensington Palace for comment.