Omid Scobie admits 'uncleared text' of Endgame was sent to Dutch publishers who left in names in Royal 'racism' storm

8 December 2023, 16:09

Omid Scobie has said the Dutch publisher of his book was sent an 'early copy' to get a head start on his translation efforts.
Omid Scobie has said the Dutch publisher of his book was sent an 'early copy' to get a head start on his translation efforts. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Omid Scobie has admitted the Dutch publisher of his book was sent an "early copy" to get a head start on translation efforts as he denied claims of a PR spin.

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Scobies new book, Endgame, recently sparked a royal row after two members of the Royal Family were named as having concerns about the skin colour of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's son, Archie.

He said his "stomach flipped" when names had emerged from a Dutch edition of the book, which was allegedly a translation error.

Although there are "fresh details" in the book about written correspondence between the King and Meghan on the subject of unconscious bias within the family, no one involved in the conversation was named, Scobie said.

He said translators in the Netherlands were sent an "early" manuscript that was never updated with the final version that was checked over by lawyers.

It comes after he previously said that Endgame had been written at "lightning speed".

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Writing in the I, he said: "The 403 pages that I had carefully written, edited, and signed off to the printers made it very clear that any names would not be revealed due to legal reasons."

Scobie explained: "To be clear, the only publisher I worked directly with was the one covering the US and UK.

"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.

"Unbeknownst to me at the time, early and uncleared text was provided to the Dutch publisher in order for them to start work on the translation, with the understanding that their translation would be updated to reflect the final version of the book I officially submitted."

Scobie insisted that the finished book he submitted was "not the version published in the Netherlands" saying he was sure he "edited carefully" and "took independent legal advice".

He went on to say: "False reports suggested that this was all part of some elaborate PR campaign (an offensive and ridiculous claim, especially given that the book had already been on the front pages for several days before this news had broken)."

He said he encountered an "aggressive resistance to allowing proper discourse about the current state and role of the British monarchy" and dismissing the opportunities to have such conversations "sends a clear message that the issues just don’t matter".

The author previously said he had only written and edited the English version of the book, so was unable to comment on the Dutch manuscript.

The racism allegations were originally made in an interview between Harry and Meghan and Oprah Winfrey.

Meghan said that an unnamed member of the household had raised questions about the skin tone of her son, Archie, before she gave birth.

She told Oprah that a royal had asked "how dark his (Archie’s) skin might be when he’s born".