The BBC has joined other news outlets in naming the senior British royals accused of making comments about the skin color of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s son Archie.
Piers Morgan named King Charles III and Kate Middleton on his TalkTV show on Wednesday after a Dutch version of journalist Omid Scobie‘s book, Endgame, mistakenly revealed the identity of the royals.
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The book alleged that Prince Harry and Markle were referring to the King when they told Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that a royal had “raised concerns” about “how dark” Archie’s skin might be. Scobie’s book claimed a second royal, now identified as the Princess of Wales, also discussed the matter.
The names were said to have been printed in error and Scobie has denied ever identifying the individuals in writing. Dutch publisher Xander is investigating and pulled copies of Scobie’s books from retailers.
The BBC had resisted naming the King and Middleton, but changed its position on Friday during the broadcast of Today, its flagship Radio 4 news show.
Presenter Nick Robinson said: “To be clear I told listeners about an hour ago, the BBC was not naming them, we are now naming the King and the Princess of Wales as being at the center of those allegations.”
A BBC insider told Deadline that managers acknowledged that the “dam had broken” on the story and gave Robinson clearance to identify the royals at the heart of the race row. Sky News and ITV have also identified the duo, as well as U.S. publications, such as The New York Times.
British newspapers including The Mirror and The Daily Telegraph named the royals on their Friday front pages, as the story has gathered momentum in the UK.
— George Mann (@sgfmann) November 30, 2023
Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have declined to comment. Buckingham Palace sources briefed on Thursday that it was “considering all options,” including a potential lawsuit, over the row. Prince Harry and Markle have not responded to a request for comment.
Scobie has denied identifying the royals. He told ITV’s This Morning: “I have never submitted a book that had their names in it, so I can only talk about my version. I am obviously frustrated.”
UK security minister Tom Tugendhat told TalkTV on Thursday: “Some individual has written some rumour and scuttlebutt that has made various claims about His Majesty the King that are, frankly, completely unproven.”
He added: “I see this as just rumour, hearsay and an attempt to disparage somebody who’s served our country with enormous dignity and enormous grace for many, many years.”
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