Endgame is full of damning accusations – but, is any of it accurate?

The British monarchy is in “increasingly desperate straits”
The British monarchy is in ‘increasingly desperate straits’ according to Scobie - Invision

The British monarchy is in “increasingly desperate straits”, its relevance collapsing around a scheming, backstabbing court and ongoing constitutional corruption. A Shakespearean power struggle between King and heir could “unravel the monarchical tapestry”, with the Palace at risk of causing “untold damage to the Queen’s legacy”. The Princess of Wales is a cold, Stepford-like wife; her husband institutionalised.

The Duke of Sussex, happily, is “in a great place”, while the Duchess of Sussex – fresh from teaching the Royal Family a thing or two about how to do their jobs – is recovering from her painful time at the Palace in which she was a “shimmering ornament in the royal family tree”.

Readers may not entirely recognise this version of events, but that is only because they have not yet read the 403 pages of Omid Scobie’s Endgame.

Full of damning accusations

The book is full of damning accusations. But as anyone who read the fact-checking and fall-out from Finding Freedom, Scobie’s first book, will wonder: is any of it accurate?

It opens with a peculiar juxtaposition. On the one hand, Scobie delivers a strident, doom-laden overview of royal fortunes with ample quotes from unnamed sources and the occasional printing of verbatim messages. On the other, he laments how he has been all-but cut off by those close to the royals and Prince William in particular. How, then, would he know?

The book, as such, is fascinating mostly for how it channels the thoughts and theories of Camp Sussex. Though he is adamant neither Harry nor Meghan have helped with the book, much of his thesis chimes convincingly with what we know they think, handily laid out in their interviews and Harry’s own memoir.

Attention to detail lets it down

Some attention to detail lets it down. The world was not told about the late Queen Elizabeth II’s death at 6.10pm but 6.30pm. The funeral on Sept 19 2022 was that of the Queen not Prince Philip. Palace aides were racking their brains to remember the “five” private secretaries who have come and gone from the Duchess of Cambridge’s office (there have been three). And contrary to the claim “you’d be unlikely to read about it in any British newspaper”, The Telegraph reported on exactly that staffing issue last week.

Much of the biography is closer to opinion, writes Furness
Much of the biography is closer to opinion, writes Furness - Shutterstock

Other parts stretch belief a little. Long passages detail how Kate copied the newly-arrived Meghan in how she dressed, carried out engagements and even (confusingly for a family which has written more forewords to books than the Sussexes have had home-laid chicken eggs) created a charitable book, like Meghan did.

Closer to opinion

Much of the biography is closer to opinion. The Trooping the Colour balcony appearance felt “a little lacklustre”, Scobie notes; the “monarchy is more vulnerable now than it’s ever been”.

Where statistics show a more positive view of the Royal Family, they are carefully explained away, with the author noting earnestly that “people who like the monarchy do so because they believe others do as well, often a direct result of deceptive polling and reporting”.

Where Scobie’s sources criticise the Princess of Wales for copying the Duchess of Sussex, they see no contradiction when he explains the Sussexes’ work will now see them develop programmes “with a key thread in all three areas of the foundation’s work – mental health”: a remarkably similar aim to the young royals.

Lofty reasoning behind writing book

On some things, he makes a good point. While the idea of “body image-obsessed tabloids tracking every pound” of the Duchess of Cambridge’s postpartum weight loss seems extraordinary in 2023, a search of the archives reveals the Daily Star did indeed run the story “Princess Diana’s Ghost Tells Kate Middleton – You’re Too Thin!”

Scobie has a lofty explanation of why he chose to write the book, appearing to suggest his critique would help save the monarchy as the “once-majestic brocade of the royal family continued to fade and fray”.

It is a bold claim in a month in which the Royal Family has hosted a glamorous state visit, led Remembrance, and undertaken two well-received overseas tours.

As one source puts it: “It’s the endgame for someone’s reputation. I’m not sure it’s the Royal Family.”

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