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King Charles and Kate Middleton are making a mistake by staying silent on racism allegations, royal commentator says

Queen Camilla, King Charles II, and the Prince and Princess of Wales December 2023
Queen Camilla, King Charles II, and the Prince and Princess of Wales at a reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.CHRIS JACKSON/Getty Images
  • King Charles and Kate made their first joint appearance since the release of "Endgame."

  • A Dutch translation of the book reportedly alluded to them commenting on Prince Archie's skin tone.

  • Royal commentator Jack Royston told BI that their continued silence on the matter is a mistake.

King Charles and Kate Middleton made their first joint appearance on Tuesday since the fallout of Omid Scobie's new book, "Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy's Fight for Survival."

A Dutch translation of "Endgame" was temporarily removed from bookstores after it reportedly named Charles and Kate as the royals said to have made racially insensitive comments about Prince Archie's skin tone. The allegation emerged in 2021 when Meghan Markle first told Oprah Winfrey in an interview that some royals had "concerns" about her son Archie's complexion before his birth, though she didn't name anyone at the time.

So far, Charles and Kate haven't publicly addressed the allegations raised by "Endgame's" publishing mishap. They appeared unified as they posed for a photo with Queen Camilla and Prince William at a Buckingham Palace reception on Tuesday, and have avoided discussing the allegations in their separate appearances since the book's release on November 28.

Representatives for Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have declined Business Insider's requests for comment on the matter, and Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace did not respond to BI's requests for comment on this story, regarding Charles and Kate's recent appearance and their continued silence on the allegations.

However, for Charles and Kate, staying silent could be their downfall, according to royal commentator Jack Royston.

Kate Middleton wearing a tiara
The Princess of Wales is photographed at Buckingham Palace.Jonathan Brady/Getty Images

Charles and Kate should respond, a royal commentator says

The photo taken on Tuesday may have been effective in showing Kate and Charles' unity and it also revealed their attempt to appear "undamaged" by the recent allegations, Royston, Newsweek's chief royal correspondent, told BI.

However, the next logical step should involve addressing the book publicly, Royston said. He added that the family's failure to comment thus far is a mistake as matters of race are within the "public interest."

The royals currently have a "limited window" in which the public would be receptive to an explanation clarifying their side of the alleged conversations, Royston said.

The original Dutch translation of the book, shared by Dutch journalist Rick Evers — Evers posted screengrabs from the book showing Charles and Kate's names on X — cites unnamed sources who said that Charles intended "no ill will or bias when he spoke about his future grandson."

Royston said it's unlikely, though, that Charles and Kate will comment.

"The most likely outcome will be that they do nothing but I think that's a mistake," he said. "I do also think people of color in Britain and countries around the world that count Charles as their king have a right to know what really happened."

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Archie
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose son Archie. The couple opted for more casual versions of formal names for their two children, including their second-born, Lilibet Diana. (Dominic Lipinski/Pool via AP, File)

The monarchy has faced criticism over its racist past in recent years

In 2021, following Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's televised interview with Winfrey, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said in a statement that the issues raised by the couple were "concerning" and would be dealt with privately by the family.

Speaking to Tom Bradby to promote his memoir, "Spare," in January, Harry said he and Meghan didn't believe that the comments were racist but instead said they demonstrated "unconscious bias," according to an excerpt of the interview shared by Town and Country.

Harry went on to say that he will "never talk about" the identities of the family members who made the comments. However, following their interview with Winfrey, she said Harry had wanted it to be known that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip weren't involved.

prince william, prince harry, meghan markle, king charles
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince William, and King Charles photographed at Westminster Abbey in 2018.RICHARD POHLE/Getty Images

Allegations of racism are nothing new for the British monarchy, which directly supported and benefited from the slave trade.

British monarchs Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, and King William III were among the royals to contribute and profit from the enslavement of African people in the 16th and 17th centuries, The Guardian's David Conn reported in April.

In the case of William III, the monarch was a shareholder (and later a governor) of the Royal African Company — a major player in Britain's slave trade which was responsible for capturing thousands of African people — at around the same time he obtained Kensington Palace, Conn wrote in a separate report for The Guardian published in April. (Kensington Palace is currently the official London residence of Kate, William, and their three children.)

Also in April 2023, Charles expressed his support for a study into the monarchy's ties to slavery which is being co-sponsored by Historic Royal Palaces, Conn, Aamna Mohdin and Maya Wolfe-Robinson reported for The Guardian.

The monarch previously spoke about his "personal sorrow" over "slavery's enduring impact" in 2022, Sky News reported at the time. However, at the time of writing in December 2023, Charles is yet to offer a public apology for the monarchy's direct contribution to the generations of suffering caused by slavery.

Speaking to BI ahead of the release of "Endgame" in November, Omid Scobie said the palace should take "accountability" for its past actions.

"No one is blaming the modern royals for what happened in the past," Scobie said. "But one does expect this institution to take some accountability for the lasting impact that it has had on the world in which we live in, from the wealth in which has been amassed from that time, and from the fact that the monarchy itself, the House of Windsor, was built off the backs of slaves."

Buckingham Palace did not respond to BI's request for comment, sent outside of regular working hours, regarding Scobie's remarks.

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