King Charles Defended Controversial Skin Color Comments to Meghan Markle, New Book Claims

The two reportedly exchanged letters after the infamous Oprah interview.

One of the most talked about revelations in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's March 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey was their claim that someone within the British royal family questioned what the color of their son Prince Archie's skin would be before he was born, though they did not reveal the identity of that person. In response to the allegation, Queen Elizabeth II released a statement and Prince William said that the royals are "not a racist family." Now, royal journalist Omid Scobie has revealed more about the controversy in his new book, Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy's Fight for Survival. According to the author, Markle and King Charles III exchanged letters after the interview, in which Charles defended and rationalized those skin color comments.

RELATED: Charles Still Hasn't Forgiven Harry for "Anguish" He Caused the Queen, Expert Says.

As reported by E! News, Scobie writes in Endgame that Charles contacted Markle in a letter in which he claimed that the question about Archie's skin color wasn't meant as "ill will" and was not an indication of "casual prejudice." In response, Markle supposedly explained that the comment was evidence of "lingering unconscious bias and ignorance" and that those issues should be addressed within the family. According to Scobie, the two had a "respectful back-and-forth" but didn't necessarily come to see the situation the same way. They did get "at least a feeling that both had been heard," the book claims.

The Telegraph had reported back in April that Charles and Markle had written to each other. Per People, that report claimed that they both agreed that the comment wasn't made out of hate, and that Markle explained she wasn't trying to accuse the family member of racism but rather encourage a dialogue about unconscious bias. Reportedly, the letters contain the identity of the person who made the comment.

Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, and Meghan Markle at Buckingham Palace in 2018
Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Speaking to Winfrey, Harry clarified that it was neither his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, or his grandfather, Prince Philip, who had made the comment. As reported by E! News, Buckingham Palace subsequently released a statement on the queen's behalf. "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan," it reads. "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."

Speaking to Good Morning America about Endgame, Scobie said that he knows the identity of two people who made comments about Archie's skin color, but cannot reveal their names due to U.K. law. "The names were mentioned in letters between Meghan and Charles that were exchanged sometime after the Oprah interview," Scobie said. "We know from sources that Charles was horrified that that's how Meghan felt those conversations were. He wanted to, sort of as a representative of his family, have that conversation with her. And that's why, I personally think, that they have been able to move forward with some kind of line of communication afterwards, though they may not see eye to eye on it."

That said, on the Nov. 29 episode of Piers Morgan Uncensored, Piers Morgan claimed that the royals who questioned Archie's skin tone were Charles and Prince William's wife, Kate Middleton, as reported by Page Six. According to Morgan, their names were unintentionally published in the Dutch edition of Endgame. The section reportedly reads, "Even after Meghan and Charles by letter discussed about probable unconscious bias within the family after it was revealed that [redacted] took part in such conversations about Archie, [redacted] has avoided discussing the subject with [redacted]."

Best Life has reached out to the royal family for comment onreports that the family members in question were Middleton and Charles.

The BBC reports that the Dutch translation of the book was pulled from shelves in the Netherlands. The publisher released a statement saying, "An error occurred in the Dutch translation and is currently being rectified," and according to the BBC an updated message from the publisher mentioned an "error" without acknowledging a translation issue. Adding to the confusion, Scobie responded in two interviews by saying that he "never" submitted a version of the book that named members of the royal family in this capacity.

It had previously been alleged that it was Charles who made the comment. In the 2021 book Brothers and Wives: Inside The Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan, author Christopher Andersen reported that a source said Charles asked his wife Camilla about Archie's skin color. It was claimed that he said, "I mean, what do you think their children's complexion might be?" A rep for Charles denied this in a statement to the New York Post: "This is fiction and not worth further comment."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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