LONDON — Prince Charles’s spokesman has dubbed as “fiction” claims that the heir to the throne had discussed the potential skin tone Prince Harry and his wife-to-be Meghan Markle’s children might have.
Charles reportedly mused about the skin color of Harry and Meghan’s future children over breakfast with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, around the time of the couple’s engagement, according to “Brothers and Wives: Inside the Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan,” written by long-time royal writer Christopher Andersen.
The book says that Charles asked his wife, “What do you suppose their children’s complexion might be?”
The book says the comments were then twisted into something toxic by royal advisors, and shared with Harry and Meghan, who is biracial.
Andersen, the book’s author, reflected on his reporting on TODAY on Monday.
“On the morning that the engagement of Harry and Meghan was announced, in a very kind of benign way, Prince Charles started to muse on what their future grandchildren might look like,” he said.
Charles’s spokesperson told reporters in Barbados that the claim in the book “is fiction and not worth further comment,” according to Reuters. Charles traveled to the island on Sunday to take part in celebrations marking its move to a republic.
The New York Post reported the same comment by a spokesperson.
Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House have not responded to NBC News’ requests for comment on the book’s claims. Harry and Meghan’s representatives declined to comment on the record.
Meghan and Harry, who got married in May 2018, first made explosive claims about a skin tone question by a royal insider in their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. At the time, Harry said that the person had asked how dark their first child Archie’s skin might be once he was born, according to Meghan.
“At the time it was awkward, I was a bit shocked,” Harry told Winfrey.
Neither Meghan nor Harry would reveal the person who made the remarks, though Winfrey clarified after the interview that they said it was not the queen or her late husband, Prince Philip.
After the couple’s interview, Buckingham Palace issued a rare statement saying that the family was “saddened” to learn of the challenges they faced, and calling the issues they raised on race “concerning.”
“While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately,” the palace statement said.
Days later, while on an official engagement, Prince William responded to a reporter’s question saying, “We’re very much not a racist family.” At the time, he said he hadn’t yet spoken to his brother, “but I plan to.”
Harry and Meghan announced their decision to take a step back from their roles as senior royals in January 2020. At the time, details of the couple’s exact arrangement with the royal family were still being worked out, with the queen acknowledging they were “complex matters.”
Reporting in the book was verified by multiple sources, according to the author.
The book also details William’s concerns about Harry rushing to marry Meghan, and said that William advised Harry to “take whatever time you need to really get to know this girl.”
Harry allegedly reacted: “Who the hell do you think you are, brother?”
Prior to Harry’s departure from his royal role, the British press widely reported that there was a rift between the brothers. The book said that their relationship became more strained in December 2019, after Harry and Meghan chose to spend Christmas in Canada.
That year, before Queen Elizabeth II recorded her traditional Christmas message, broadcast on television on Christmas Day, she asked that a portrait of Harry, Meghan and Archie be removed, according to the book.
William was shocked when he saw the photo was gone and told his wife that Harry would be “terribly upset,” according to the book.
“She loves all of her children and grandchildren, there’s no doubt about that,” Andersen told TODAY. “But when it comes to the firm, as they call it in the royal family, she is all business. That’s why she wouldn’t allow Harry and Meghan to remain as part time royals on the terms that they wanted.”
A spokesperson for the queen told the New York Post: “We don’t comment on books of this kind as to do so risks giving it some form of authority or credibility.”
Harry and Meghan announced their decision to take a step back from their roles as senior royals in January 2020.