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Omid Scobie finally admits early Endgame manuscript named ‘Royal racists’

Omid Scobie has appeared to admit that an early manuscript for his royal book Endgame did identify two royals at the centre of a race storm.

Thousands of copies of the Dutch version of Mr Scobie’s book were dramatically pulled from shelves and pulped after King Charles and the Princess of Wales were identified as the royals who allegedly made remarks about the skin colour of unborn baby Archie, the son of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Mr Scobie had denied ever writing their names in the English manuscript, while the Dutch publisher initially chalked the blunder down to a “translation error”.

However, Mr Scobie has now appeared to admit that an “uncleared” version of the manuscript was provided to the Dutch publisher without his knowledge.

“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,” he wrote.

Mr Scobie wrote of the moment he found out that a Dutch edition of the book had named royals in the race row.

“I was in the middle of TV interviews in New York on 28 November when a single name surfaced on social media, after it was published in the Dutch edition. My stomach flipped. 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.

“Still confused about what had happened, and unable to keep an eye on the unfolding story during my back-to-back press appearances, I was at the very least relieved to see the Netherlands publisher swiftly announce that copies containing what they described as a ‘translation error’would be removed from stores. As a second name started circulating, questions were coming in thick and fast; I had many too, but details at this point were still being pieced together and I don’t have the full story.”

The writer discussing ‘Endgame’ (ITV)
The writer discussing ‘Endgame’ (ITV)

He added: “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.

“What I can be sure of is that I edited carefully, took independent legal advice, and the finished book that I submitted was not the version published in the Netherlands.”

The Sunday Times has previously reported that translators worked on an early signed-off manuscript instead of the final copy received ahead of the release of Endgame – published as Eindstrijd (meaning “Final Battle”) in the Netherlands.

Buckingham Palace has not issued an official statement yet but is considering all options, including legal action in response to the scandal.

The Independent has contacted Mr Scobie for comment.

In November, one of the two translators who worked on the book, Saskia Peeters told Mail Online that Charles and Catherine’s names were in the manuscript that she received. “I translate what is in front of me … I did not add them,” she said.

Ms Peeters also said the controversy had been “upsetting”, adding that she wasn’t sure why Mr Scobie had denied writing the names in the first place.

“I don’t know why he would say that. I have been translating for many years,” she said. “This is the first time anything like this has happened. This is not something I wanted to be involved in. This has been upsetting.”

After the story first broke last week, Mr Scobie claimed there was “no version” of Endgame that he wrote which contained the names of Charles and Catherine.

Appearing on the Dutch chat show RTL Boulevard, he said: “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,” he added. “There’s never been a version that I’ve produced that has names in it.”

The allegations that two senior members of the royal family had made comments about the colour of Archie’s skin first came to light during a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, though no members of the royal family were named at the time. Meghan said there had been “concerns and conversations” within the palace about the skin colour of the firstborn son. Prince Harry later denied that he and Meghan had accused a senior member of the royal family of racism.