Pressure grows on Harry and Meghan as William demands ‘action’ on Scobie racism allegations, Archie’s godfather snubs them from his society wedding to avoid ‘drama’ and an MP calls for Parliament to strip them of their titles
Pressure is mounting on Harry and Meghan after Prince William demanded action on allegations of racism made in Omid Scobie’s incendiary book – and their son’s godfather snubbed them from his high-society wedding to avoid drama.
William is said to ‘want action’ after his wife Kate was named alongside Charles as the two Royals identified by Meghan in a private letter to the King, which claimed ‘concern’ was expressed about her future son Archie’s skin colour.
And further difficulties are massing on another front for the Montecito-based pair as Parliament could consider the ‘nuclear option’ of stripping Harry and Meghan of their royal titles under bombshell legislation to be proposed this week.
Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, is said to have decided against inviting the Sussexes to avoid clashes on his big day amid soaring tensions following the release of Omid Scobie’s new book.
Mauled by critics, Endgame portrays the King as ‘inept’, William as a power-hungry company man and Kate as a ‘Stepford wife’. Only Meghan and Harry escape censure.
One of Prince Harry’s closest friends and godfather to his son Archie, the devastating snub will be seen as a consequence of the couple’s increasingly bitter rift with the rest of the Royal Family.
William is said to ‘want action’ after his wife Kate was named alongside Charles as the two Royals identified by Meghan in a private letter to the King, which claimed ‘concern’ was expressed about her future son’s skin colour. Pictured: Harry and Meghan with Archie in 2019
Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, is said to have decided against inviting the Sussexes to avoid clashes on his big day amid soaring tensions following the release of Omid Scobie ‘s new book. Pictured: With fiancée Olivia Henson
It comes as tensions are already high between Harry and William – after King Charles III and Kate Middleton were named as the royals alleged to have made comments about the skin colour of Harry and Meghan’s son Archie prior to his birth in the Dutch edition of Scobie’s latest tome, Endgame
Meanwhile, this newspaper understands that the King will ‘confer’ next week with William over how to handle the fallout from Scobie’s book.
Determinedly, the Royal Family has adopted a ‘business as usual’ stance, but the possibility of legal action remains. The final decision on the next step rests with Charles, who, according to sources, will not act hastily.
A Palace source said: ‘Most right-thinking people would expect an apology – who wouldn’t?
‘Being falsely branded a racist in print is a serious allegation that must be treated seriously. All options are still on the table.’
Sources close to the Sussexes have attempted to distance the couple from the book. They say Meghan never intended the King or Princess of Wales to be publicly identified in the race row and say the letter was not leaked to Scobie by anyone close to her.
She is likely to be less disappointed than her husband to miss out on the Duke’s wedding celebrations, expected to be held at his 10,872-acre Eaton Hall estate in Cheshire. Scobie has said she is loathe to return to England and ‘dive back into the soap opera’.
But back in the UK, royals aides say the week will be ‘business as usual’ – as they prepare for a series of glittering events that will see them ‘rise above’ the last week, the Mirror reports.
It comes as Conservative MP Bob Seely is putting forward a Bill that could deny the Sussexes their Duke and Duchess titles.
To rub salt in the wound, it is thought Prince William is in the running to be Grosvenor’s best man. Pictured: William with Grosvenor in 2004
Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, is said to have picked the Prince and Princess of Wales over the Sussexes to avoid clashes that would overshadow his big day. Pictured: Prince William (right) and Hugh Grosvenor (second from left) during the official handover of the newly built Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre in 2018
It comes as tensions are already high between Harry and William. Pictured: Prince Harry (third from right) visits the Khulula Care for Wild Centre in South Africa in 2015 with Grosvenor (right)
Writing in The Mail on Sunday, he said that he felt compelled to act because of the ‘use of race to smear the Royal Family’ – and proposes to revive First World War laws that could pave the way to making the couple plain Mr and Mrs Sussex.
The Isle of Wight MP wants to adapt laws originally passed to deny enemy German nobles their British titles. Mr Seely said he had to act because of the attempt to use race to smear the Royal Family, which he called ‘poisonously insidious’.
He is applying for his Titles Deprivation 1917 Amendment Bill to be listed on the Commons’ Order Paper next week. It would resurrect the wartime powers by removing references to ‘enemies’ and ‘present war’. He has cleared the wording with Parliament’s Table Office, which oversees draft legislation.
The Duke of Westminster had originally planned to invite Harry and Meghan to his June 6 wedding to Olivia Henson at Chester Cathedral.
However the 32-year-old aristocrat changed his mind because of the drama surrounding the couple and the fear their presence would overshadow the day, The Sunday Times reports.
Another serious consideration was the feelings of Charles, Camilla, William and Kate.
Known as Hughie to this friends, the billionaire Duke is also godfather to William’s son Prince George, ten, who is also expected to attend.
A life-long friend for each of the brothers, he is thought to be the only pal both chose to mentor their children.
And to rub salt in the wound, it is thought Prince William is in the running to be Grosvenor’s best man.
Conservative MP Bob Seely (pictured) is putting forward a Bill that could deny the Sussexes their Duke and Duchess titles
A life-long friend for each of the brothers, Grosvenor is thought to be the only pal both chose to mentor their children. Pictured: At the wedding of Harry’s school friend Charlie van Straubenzee and Daisy Jenks
The broadsheet understands that the Duke wanted to invite Harry and Meghan but eventually decided against it as he feared the tension it would cause with the other Royals who have been invited – including the King and Queen.
READ MORE: Who is Hugh Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster?
‘It’s incredibly sad it has come to this,’ a friend of William and Harry’s told The Sunday Times.
‘Hugh is one of very few close friends of William and Harry’s who has maintained strong bonds and a line of communication with both. He wishes they could put their heads together and patch things up, but realises it’s unlikely to happen before the wedding.’
‘He wanted to avoid anything overshadowing the day, especially for Olivia, and doesn’t want any awkwardness.’
A spokesman for the Duke said last night: ‘We are not in a position to comment on the guest list.’ Buckingham Palace also declined to comment.
Archie’s other godparents have not been named publicly by his parents – but include Tiggy Pettifer, Harry and William’s former nanny, Mark Dyer, his minder, and his school friend Charlie van Straubenzee.
It comes as tensions are already high between Harry and William – after King Charles III and Kate Middleton were named as the royals alleged to have made comments about the skin colour of Harry and Meghan’s son Archie prior to his birth in the Dutch edition of Scobie’s latest tome, Endgame.
The King is said to be taking the taking the furore over the book ‘very seriously’ and will consult senior advisers next week on the family’s next step, with ‘all options’ including legal action set to be considered.
Prince William (right), and the Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor (centre) in 2018
Hugh Grosvenor attends the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle with Charlie van Straubenzee at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018
The Sunday Times understands that the Duke wanted to invite Harry and Meghan but eventually decided against it as he feared the tension it would cause with the other Royals who have been invited – including the King and Queen
Harry and Meghan, meanwhile, have not commented publicly on the scandal. Scobie has been accused of acting as a ‘mouthpiece’ for the Sussexes, an allegation he has denied, writing on X, formerly Twitter: ‘I’m not ‘Meg’s pal’.
READ MORE: Hunt for the royal letter leaker: King orders palace probe after only a ‘tiny handful’ of staff saw Meghan’s note naming two ‘royal racists’ – as Duchess insists she did not share identities with ‘mouthpiece’ biographer Omid Scobie
But sources close to the Duchess of Sussex , who allegedly wrote down the names of the two family members in letters to King Charles, have insisted to that she ‘never intended for them to be publicly identified’.
One source close to the Royal Family has now called on Harry and Meghan to speak out publicly on the issue.
‘For the couple that talked about ‘death by a thousand no comments’, the silence at this point is deafening,’ the source told The Telegraph.
Another insider added that the decision not to respond was ‘interesting’ given the Sussexes’ previous complaints about not being supported against negative press stories.
The scandal – which Scobie has been forced to insist was not a publicity stunt – has kept Endgame in the headlines for more than a week as excerpts were published in the days before its release in a French magazine.
The most eye-grabbing extract serialised in Paris Match claimed that there was a second so-called ‘royal racist’ – after Harry and Meghan alluded to a member of the Royal Household expressing discomfort over Archie’s skin colour in 2021.
The pair were allegedly identified in the Dutch version of the book – and were named widely by media organisations around the world tonight, including the Guardian and the Times, as King Charles and Kate.
Meanwhile, this newspaper understands that the King will ‘confer’ next week with William over how to handle the fallout from Scobie’s (pictured) book
Royals aides say the week will be ‘business as usual’ – as they prepare for a series of glittering events that will see them ‘rise above’ the last week, the Mirror reports. Pictured: William and Kate at the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 30
Determinedly, the Royal Family has adopted a ‘business as usual’ stance, but the possibility of legal action remains. The final decision on the next step rests with Charles, who, according to sources, will not act hastily. Pictured: The King speaks during an opening ceremony of COP28
The inclusion of the names led to 5,000 copies of the book – called ‘Final Battle’ in Holland – being withdrawn from sale on the bookshelves and pulped.
Bookstores were ordered to remove the paperback from their shelves and return to the publisher. The book will go back on sale next week.
And newly revealed extracts from the Dutch version of the book – which have been changed or omitted from the UK edition – look set to further heighten tensions within the firm.
The text called the Prince of Wales ‘heartless’ – a term that does not appear in the UK edition, The Sun reports.
It further claimed that the reason why William was still angry with Harry when the Queen died was because of the couple’s interview with US TV star Oprah the year before.
A series of quotes – which are attributed to ‘sources close to the Sussexes’ – calls William ‘heartless’ and ‘petty’ as it claims he ‘ignored’ Harry as the royals rushed to Balmoral.
Grosvenor, who is thought to own more land than the King, has an estimated net worth of £9.42 billion and has a long history with the royal family – with his late father Gerald acting as King Charles’ own godfather.
The Duke was the third child and only son of Gerald Grosvenor, the 6th Duke of Westminster, and his wife Natalia who is a descendant from the Russian Imperial House of Romanov, specifically from Nicholas I of Russia.
Grosvenor, who is thought to own more land than the King, has an estimated net worth of £9.42 billion and has a long history with the royal family – with his late father Gerald acting as King Charles’ own godfather. Pictured: With his mother in 2018
When he was baptised on 23 June 1991, the King – then the Prince of Wales – agreed to officiate as godfather.
He even had an official role in the King’s coronation procession – carrying the Standards of the Quarterings of the Royal Arms and Standard of the Principality of Wales alongside the Marquess of Anglesey, the Earl of Caledon and Scottish peer and Conservative politician the Earl of Dundee.
Grosvenor was raised at Eaton Hall with his three sisters: Lady Tamara, Lady Edwina, and Lady Viola. They attended a local public primary school before he attended the small, private Mostyn House School, followed by Ellesmere College in Shropshire where fees are £40,635 a year.
He later studied at Newcastle University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Countryside Management
The Duke, whose Latin family motto Virtus Non Stemma means Virtue not Ancestry, was originally titled Earl Grosvenor from his birth until 2016, when his father died and he became the seventh Duke.
At the time he was labelled Britain’s most eligible bachelor but in April this year he announced his engagement to Olivia Grace Henson.
Ms Henson, the Duke’s girlfriend of two years, works for an ethical food company. She attended Princess of Wales’s old school, Marlborough College, where Princess Eugenie was a contemporary.
He confirmed the engagement through a statement, which said: ‘The Duke of Westminster and Miss Olivia Henson are delighted to announce they are engaged to be married.
‘The couple, who have been together for two years, recently became engaged at the Duke’s family home at Eaton Hall in Cheshire.
‘Members of both their families are absolutely delighted with the news.
‘Hugh Grosvenor, The Duke of Westminster, is Grosvenor’s Chair as well as Chair of the Westminster Foundation. Miss Henson works for Belazu, a B-Corp certified food company based in London.’
MailOnline has contacted the Sussexes for comment.
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