keeping up with the royals

Royal Publishing Drama Still Going Strong

Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

If you’re Dutch and love royals drama, I hope you got your hands on a copy of Omid Scobie’s Endgame (or Eindstrijd) before it was pulled from the shelves. The Dutch translation of the book, which purports to detail the current state of the British royal family, reportedly names the family members who were involved in the now-infamous conversation about the skin color of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son, Archie. Before the publishers clocked the oversight, a passage made the rounds on X, seeming to confirm a theory already in circulation: Maybe it was King Charles who said it. Or maybe he was at least involved in the discussion.

According to Google Translate, the passage details an exchange of letters between Charles and Markle, in which the then-prince expressed sadness for the “huge distance between the two parties and that he was disappointed that the couple had gone public.” He was apparently referring to the Sussexes’ big Oprah interview in 2021, during which Markle said there were “concerns and conversations about how dark [Archie’s] skin might be when he’s born.” The former actress declined to name the person who’d made the comments, saying that it “would be very damaging to them.” Oprah later told CBS that Prince Harry wanted to clarify that it was not Queen Elizabeth nor her husband, Prince Philip. The idea that it might’ve been Charles surfaced later that year, in a biography claiming he made the remarks to Queen Camilla around the time of Markle and Harry’s 2017 engagement. Harry has since backtracked on the Oprah comments, insisting during his publicity tour for Spare that he had never accused anyone in his family of racism. But in Eindstrijd’s reported telling, Charles wrote Markle to say “there was no ill will or bias when he spoke about his future grandson. ‘He wanted to clarify something he felt was very important.’” The Dutch text apparently implicated Princess Kate in the controversy as well.

For his part, Scobie (who also happens to be a sympathetic Sussex biographer) says he doesn’t know how that allegation made it into Eindstrijd. “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,” Scobie told People. “I’m happy to hear that the error in the translation of the Dutch edition is being fixed.” As speculation ballooned, Scobie told ITV News: “I have never submitted a book that had their names in it.”

Meanwhile, the Dutch translator of the book insisted that she did not go rogue, nor was she just being messy. “As a translator, I translate what is in front of me,” Saskia Peeters told the Daily Mail. “The names of the royals were there in black and white. I did not add them. I just did what I was paid to do, and that was translate the book from English into Dutch.”

Initially, Scobie stuck to his guns, but has now emerged with a clarification. In an op-ed for the i, he admitted that an “early and uncleared text” was sent to the Dutch publisher for them to start their translation. “To be clear, the only publisher I worked directly with was the one covering the U.S. and U.K.,” Scobie wrote. “I spent almost two months with independent British barristers and in-house legal counsel to ensure that every detail in the finished book was legally watertight.”

According to Scobie, the Dutch publisher was supposed to update its translation to match the final version of the book, which did not happen. “Other foreign-language publishers, including in France and Italy, were also doing the same thing, though their versions perfectly replicated the completed work,” Scobie wrote.

In a statement to People, the book’s Dutch publishers called the naming of royals an “error” and said that a “rectified edition” of the book would be back on shelves in December. Meanwhile, anyone with a non-English copy of Endgame should get to reading. Maybe the Italian edition has the goss on when the hell Markle is getting back on Instagram.

This article has been updated.

Dutch Translator Denies Revealing Royal Secrets