The Royal Family Is Going to Legal War With … Someone?

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Buckingham Palace may take legal action after the translation of a book about the royal family accidentally disclosed that King Charles and Princess Kate discussed the skin color of Meghan and Harry’s unborn son. This is, at the very least, the current state of play that’s resulted from a comedy of errors involving the Dutch translation of a tell-all book and the United Kingdom’s unofficial bad penny, Piers Morgan.

Here’s the backstory: During an explosive 2021 interview with Oprah, Meghan and Harry alleged that at least one royal relative had spoken to them about how dark-skinned their son might be, the implication being that it would be something verging on scandalous. Both Meghan and Harry declined to say who had made those comments.

Longtime British royal reporter Omid Scobie also knew about those conversations. In his book Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy’s Fight for Survival, which was published in August, Scobie made note of this matter amid a larger discussion of the royal family’s approach to race. But he did not specify in his book which royals had mentioned the skin tone of Meghan and Harry’s child.

However, in the Dutch translation of the book, those two people were identified—somehow or another—as Charles and Kate. Copies of the book that included this disclosure were quickly pulled from the market, but not before British television host Piers Morgan had shared the information on air.

“I’m going to tell you the names of the two senior royals who are named in that Dutch version of the book because, frankly, if Dutch people wandering into a bookshop can pick it up and see these names, then you, British people, here—who actually pay for the British royal family—you’re entitled to know too,” Morgan said Wednesday night.

Scobie says he does not know how the Dutch version ended up with the names in it. When asked by the BBC about reports that the palace was considering legal proceedings, a spokesperson said Friday, “We’re exploring all options.” They did not specify against whom they would take legal action.

Every aspect of this story is a perfect nightmare for the British royal family. It truly is the sum of all fears: It involves the public airing of dirty laundry, Piers Morgan, and coming second in something to the Dutch.

It is ironic that Charles is one of the people involved in that discussion, considering his coronation was supposed to mark a modernization of the royal family. But it is also not all that surprising that he or any of the royals had this conversation.

This is, after all, a family that exists purely because of a race- and class-based institution—an institution that colonized swathes of the nonwhite world. A family where one member casually wore blackamoor jewelry, which glorifies slavery. A family that refused to defend its one member of color when she was subjected to an onslaught of vicious and often racist tabloid coverage. A family that ignored that same woman’s distress until she became suicidal.

For more, there are six seasons of The Crown currently streaming on Netflix.