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Markle, Scobie and the grim triumph of the race grifters

The shameful smears against the royals are enough to make this republican sing ‘God Save the King’.

Tom Slater

Tom Slater
Editor

Topics Culture Identity Politics UK USA

I’m no fan of the monarchy. I’m particularly no fan of the current occupant of the throne. I don’t want to be anyone’s subject. But I especially don’t want to bend the knee to King Charles III, a reactionary environmentalist whose ideas about the world are even weirder than all that stuff about him talking to plants would suggest.

Still, the grim return of the nonsense ‘royal racism’ row is enough to make this republican sing ‘God Save the King’. The attempt – first by Meghan Markle, now by her tame journalist, Omid Scobie – to smear senior royals as racists, based on a tenuous alleged microaggression that may or may not have even happened, is a grim move on the part of the Sussexes that everyone – monarchist, republican or neither – should reject.

If you’ve missed this story, I envy you. A swift recap:

Back in 2021, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, suggested to a horrified Oprah Winfrey in their blockbuster interview that part of the reason she and her husband, Prince Harry, left the royal family in 2020 was because of racism within the House of Windsor. There had been ‘concerns and conversations’, Markle said vaguely, among some royals about what skin tone the Sussexes’ then unborn son, Archie, might have.

Meghan refused to name names, claiming it would be ‘very damaging’ to those involved. Apparently, she was oblivious to how damaging the subsequent speculation and feeding frenzy would be to the entire institution. She set the hares running, sparking one giant game of ‘pin the tail on the racist’ that has been going on ever since.

Earlier this year, when promoting his tell-all memoir, Spare , Harry tried to pull back slightly, insisting his wife had never called his family racist. ‘The British press said that’, he told a puzzled Tom Bradby (himself a friend of the Sussexes). Harry said that all Meg had accused his family of was ‘unconscious bias’.

Even if you bought this, it was really a distinction without a difference, given the alleged ‘bias’ in question is bias on the basis of race. Perhaps the Sussexes were slowly realising they had overplayed their hand, as more and more people began to tire of their travelling victim circus, all based on ‘conversations’ that could well have been entirely innocent.

(Chris Rock has a great routine about the skin-tone row in a recent special: ‘Some of that shit they went through was not racism. It was just some in-law shit… “They’re so racist, they wanted to know how brown the baby was going to be!” That’s not racist… even black people want to know how brown the baby’s going to be.’)

Now, the racist-incident-that-probably-wasn’t is back on the frontpages, following the publication of a new book on the royals by alleged journalist Omid Scobie. Not only do the allegations get a re-airing in the pages of Endgame, but the supposed perpetrators have also now been named. They are none other than King Charles III and the future queen, Kate Middleton.

Scobie insists he never intended to out them. While the names do not appear in most versions of the book, they did briefly appear in the Dutch edition, until it was hastily withdrawn and pulped. Apparently, we are expected to believe that the Dutch translator correctly guessed the names, went rogue and inserted them – giving Mr Scobie the mother of all ‘accidental’ publicity stunts.

To say we should treat the claims of Scobie with a dose of scepticism is a huge understatement. The 42-year-old celebrity gossip hound turned royal correspondent has already admitted to lying about his age, perhaps to justify his preternaturally youthful (ie, stiff) face.

Scobie flatly rejects being ‘Meghan’s mouthpiece’, despite the fact that the Sussexes’ former press officer briefed him extensively, with the Duke and Duchess’s approval and input, for his last book, Finding Freedom. (Markle had to apologise to the Court of Appeal in 2021 for ‘failing to remember’ this detail.)

Plus, as chance would have it, the only royals to come out of Endgame unscathed are Harry and Meghan. Apparently, even a news man as dogged as Scobie couldn’t dig up so much as a trowel-full of dirt on the notoriously grounded and uncontroversial couple.

I know what you’re thinking. Why don’t we just ignore these tawdry wankers? And you’re right. Indeed, even some of Harry and Meghan’s former liberal cheerleaders have been quietly backing away from the crime scene in recent months, seemingly – finally! – realising that they fell for a couple of chancers pushing a story they wanted to hear: of racist royals and our rotten old institutions.

Now Omid Scobie is testing just about everyone’s patience. Even the New York Times has panned Endgame, saying it is ‘devoted to setting the record straight on petty slights against the Sussexes’, with the sections on the couple reading like ‘a press release cooked up by ChatGPT’. Ouch!

Even if they won’t openly admit it, it is slowly but surely dawning on the liberal-left types who once backed the Sussexes that they are an absurd couple with a complicated relationship with the truth. The problem is, the damage is already done – the royal family has had the ‘racist’ scarlet letter firmly imprinted upon them.

Indeed, the race issue has dogged the Windsors, in one way or another, ever since ‘Megxit’. Tours in the Commonwealth have been dubbed ‘tin-eared’ and ‘neocolonialist’. Charles has pledged to investigate his family’s links to the slave trade. Poor Lady Hussey was ejected, just for asking where someone was ‘from’.

This all matters. Not for the royal family’s sake. Again, I would struggle to care less. (I’m sure the palaces are ample comfort for being called names.) But what we are witnessing is the shameful watering down of racism, a social scourge we must always take deadly seriously, to a form of etiquette (at best) and a weapon (at worst) – as something to be used to have out family beefs, drive book sales or bring down institutions you already dislike.

Deeper than that, we’re witnessing the triumph of a new racial narrative – which paints Britain as racist and rotten to the core, in which people are full of bigotry and bias even if they don’t realise it, and in which we must forever interrogate our ‘privilege’ (unless you’re a certain Duke and Duchess, who are the real victims in all this).

Meghan and her mouthpiece may be losing the battle for public opinion (only Prince Andrew is less popular than the Sussexes). But the racial grift lives on. The Narrative continues to conquer all before it. Indeed, it’s precisely because our elites had already bought all those CRT-lite notions about race that Harry and Meghan were given such a sympathetic hearing in the first place.

Perhaps we need to stop raging against Meghan, Harry and now Scobie and focus our ire on what it is they represent. If only they weren’t so endlessly, unwittingly, unconsciously entertaining.

Tom Slater is editor of spiked. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Slater_

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Topics Culture Identity Politics UK USA

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