A journalist who spotted that a new book appeared to name a royal at the centre of a racism row says he was called by the publisher within an hour of writing his article.
Rick Evers, who has been a royal correspondent in the Netherlands for 14 years, told Sky News he published an article with key claims made in Endgame at around midday on Tuesday.
By 1pm, he says the publisher had been in touch to ask him to delete the article over “legal problems” in the book, written by Omid Scobie, who some commentators have said is an ally of Harry and Meghan.
The book appeared to name two royals who the Sussexes claim raised concern over the skin colour of Meghan’s then-unborn son, Archie – but only in the version sold in the Netherlands.
Xander, the publishers of the Dutch translation, have put sales of the book on hold “temporarily” over what it calls an “error”.
“I think it took an hour for the publisher to phone me to ask me to delete the whole article and to get it offline, because there are some legal problems with it,” he said.
“And, of course, I was very curious – what was it? They couldn’t say it, because there were names mentioned.
“The only thing they had to say [was] that all of the books will be destroyed from the Dutch versions. So, there was something wrong.”
Mr Scobie’s book claims that Meghan wrote a letter to King Charles, who at the time was the Prince of Wales, expressing concern about unconscious bias in the Royal Family.
This came after the Duchess of Sussex claimed in her March 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey that a member of the Royal Family raised “concerns” about Archie’s skin colour.
The version being sold in English-speaking countries does not name anyone, with Mr Scobie stating: “Laws in the United Kingdom prevent me from reporting who they were.”
But early readers in the Netherlands spotted the Dutch version names an individual.
Mr Evers – who says he did not realise the Dutch version was any different until after he had published an article – said he does not believe it is down to a “mistranslation”, as Mr Scobie has suggested.
“If you compare the Dutch version and the English version it is quite clear that there is just a paragraph missing,” he said.
“One of them is replaced by some kind of sentence that Omid is not allowed to say the names because of legal problems to mention them, so it’s very clear that something has been erased.”
He said he suspects the original manuscript was checked by a legal department, who told the publishers the name should “come out”.
“So, I think they sent it to all the translators all over the world, who were translating the manuscript, except for one country – the Netherlands,” he said, adding he does not believe the name was included on purpose.
Mr Evers said he was one of two journalists in the Netherlands to receive an advanced copy of the book – none in the UK did.
Mr Scobie told chat show RTL Boulevard he wrote the English version and “there was no version from me in which names were mentioned”.
Xander, the publishers, said the books are being withdrawn from sale – though Mr Evers says some copies can still be bought in shops.
“[We are] temporarily withdrawing the book by Omid Scobie from sale,” Xander said in a statement. “An error occurred in the Dutch translation and is currently being rectified.”
Harry and Meghan have always refused to reveal who they claim raised concerns about Archie’s skin colour before he was born, but they did clarify it was not Prince Philip or the late Queen.