Who is Omid Scobie and why is a royal accused of asking about Archie's skin colour?

29 November 2023, 00:19

Scobie's book Endgame had to be pulled from the shelves in the Netherlands
Scobie's book Endgame had to be pulled from the shelves in the Netherlands. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Omid Scobie has begun a barrage of controversies with the publication of his new book Endgame.

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The royal author, who is close to Meghan and Harry, has included a raft of serious claims in his latest title.

These include suggestions of a rift between King Charles and Prince William and an allegation that Harry was left in the dark when the late Queen died.

But among the most prominent is his claim a royal asked about Archie's skin colour.

And now, a publisher has had to pull the sale of the Dutch language copy after a name of a royal was printed in the passage about that alleged episode - with Scobie having said he would not name them due to libel laws.

Here is everything you need to know about this royal row.

Read more: Omid Scobie denies being responsible as royal 'mistakenly named as racist who asked about Archie's skin colour' in book

Scobie's new book has caused a storm
Scobie's new book has caused a storm. Picture: Getty

Who is Omid Scobie?

Scobie has covered the royals extensively and travelled with Harry, Meghan, William and Kate, according to his royal editor-at-large biography on Harper's Bazaar.

He is routinely reported as being close to the Sussexes. He published Finding Freedom, covering Harry and Meghan, in the wake of "Megxit".

The 42-year-old's depicitons of the Sussexes is usually positive. Recent headlines on the couple for Harper's Bazaar include "Inside Prince Harry’s “Very Special” Visit to London, Where He Honored His Grandmother" and "Prince Harry and Meghan Make Rare Video Appearance to Help Young Leaders".

His most recent piece on the site features a black and white photo of Kate Middleton as the thumbnail, with the headline: "We Know So Little About Princess Kate. That's By Design."

Read more: Archie's skin colour questions and King blasts Harry as a fool: The eight most explosive claims from new book Endgame

Endgame had to be pulled from shelves over a passage about a royal's alleged questions over Archie's skin colour
Endgame had to be pulled from shelves over a passage about a royal's alleged questions over Archie's skin colour. Picture: Alamy

What is the race row surrounding Archie?

After Megxit, the Sussexes carried out an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

It was claimed a royal had asked about what Archie's skin colour might be when he was born.

But Meghan refused to name the royal, saying she wanted to avoid "damaging" them.

Harry would later deny his family is racist but said there is an element of "unconscious bias" at play.

However, Scobie has now claimed he knows the name of the royal after they were named in correspondence between Meghan and the King.

Does Omid Scobie's Endgame reveal the royal?

Scobie has refused to name the royal, citing the possibility of being sued.

But he has also claimed a second person in the royal household echoed the remarks about Archie's skin colour.

While the book discusses Meghan's correspondence, he has not named them. However, it has emerged a name has been printed in the Dutch language version of Endgame.

That has led to it being pulled from the shelves at the last minute.

A spokesperson for Dutch publisher Xander said: "[We are] temporarily withdrawing the book by Omid Scobie from sale. An error occurred in the Dutch translation and is currently being rectified."

Scobie denied he was responsible, telling Dutch TV: "The book is in several languages, and unfortunately I do not speak Dutch. But if there are translation errors, I'm sure the publishers will have it under control.

"I wrote and edited the English version. There's never been no version that I've produced that has names in it."

What have the royals said?

In similar fashion to how they have dealt with claims raised by the Sussexes, the Palace has not responded directly to the accusations.

This has previously been referred to as a "dignified silence".

But the late Queen did respond to the original claims raised about a royal's remarks over Archie's skin.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately," she said.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."