Entertainment

Controversial book about royal family pulled from shelves in the Netherlands

Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex saw claims about an unidentified member of the royal family (Screen grab photo supplied by ITV Hub courtesy of Harpo Productions/CBS)
Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex saw claims about an unidentified member of the royal family (Screen grab photo supplied by ITV Hub courtesy of Harpo Productions/CBS) Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex saw claims about an unidentified member of the royal family (Screen grab photo supplied by ITV Hub courtesy of Harpo Productions/CBS)

A new royal book has been pulled from shelves in the Netherlands amid reports it named a member of the monarchy said to have raised questions about the skin colour of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son Archie before he was born.

Xander Uitgevers, which has published the Dutch translated version Endgame, by US-based British journalist Omid Scobie, said on Tuesday it was “temporarily withdrawing” it from bookshops in the country.

It added in a statement on its website: “An error occurred in the Dutch translation and is currently being rectified.”

In the book, Mr Scobie makes several claims about how and why the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back from being working royals.

Oprah Winfrey interviews the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Oprah Winfrey interviews the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex saw claims about an unidentified member of the royal family (Screen grab photo supplied by ITV Hub courtesy of Harpo Productions/CBS)

Among those is the claim two people, named in private letters between Charles and Meghan, raised questions about Archie’s skin colour.

In the English language version of the book, Mr Scobie writes: “But in the pages of these private letters, two identities were revealed. Laws in the United Kingdom prevent me from reporting who they were.”

The author is said to be close to Harry and Meghan and co-authored Finding Freedom, a biography of the Sussexes which chronicled the couple in glowing terms.

The royal couple first made the claim a royal had asked about their son’s skin colour when they were interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in 2021.

They alleged an unidentified member of the monarchy – but not the late Queen nor her husband, the late Duke of Edinburgh – had, as Meghan said, raised “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born”.

After the book was pulled in the Netherlands, Mr Scobie told Dutch TV channel RTL Boulevard: “The book is available in a number of languages and unfortunately I can’t speak Dutch so I haven’t seen the copy for myself, but if there have been any translation errors I am sure the publisher has got it under control.

“For me, I edited and wrote the English version, there has never been a version that I’ve produced that has names in it.”

Queen Elizabeth II death first anniversary
Queen Elizabeth II death first anniversary Members of the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, to view the flypast following the Trooping the Colour

Endgame has caused controversy in the UK over several claims made about working royals.

The Princess of Wales is accused of being “cold” and ignoring the Duchess of Sussex’s “cries for help”.

In the book, a “source” claims Kate can be “cold if she doesn’t like someone” and the writer goes on to say: “This is a side of Kate that rarely gets written about.

“Advocating for mental health causes – the mental health of mothers, for that matter – but ignoring her own sister-in-law’s cries for help seemed out of character for someone the public knew as sweet and easy to get along with.”

The King’s relationship with his eldest son, the Prince of Wales, is also examined with a “source” making a scathing comment about the heir to the throne’s opinion of his father.

The source said: “William (doesn’t) think his father is competent enough, quite frankly. Though they share passions and interests, their style of leadership is completely different.”

Mr Scobie also accuses the King of “ineptitude” over the Sussexes’ departure as working royals and also claimed there is “distrust and simmering animosity” between him and William.

Other claims made include that there is a rift between the King and the Prince of Wales, that the Queen has “quietly thanked” Piers Morgan for “defending the Firm” and that a timid Princess of Wales has to be encouraged to take part in engagements.

Mr Scobie’s book makes a series of allegations involving the Sussexes – including that William and other family members “covertly sanctioned” leaks to reporters about Harry, that the elder brother ignored texts from Harry when the family were making their way to Balmoral before the late Queen died last year, and that Charles and Meghan exchanged letters in the wake of her interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The book’s full title is Endgame: Inside The Royal Family And The Monarchy’s Fight For Survival, and its chapters include Race And The Royals: Institutional Bigotry And Denial, and another called Gloves On: Prince William, Heir To The Throne.

Its publication follows the release of Prince Harry’s memoir Spare in January, which made a series of explosive claims about the royal family including an allegation that he was physically attacked by his older brother.

Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace declined to comment.