King Charles’ Next Royal Crisis Is Prince William

King Charles III’s monarchy is being dragged down by “selfish agendas” and “ego” ,have blocked Prince William from supporting his father, royal author Omid Scobie has told Newsweek.

New book Endgame, published on Tuesday, reignited public interest in the trans-Atlantic feud between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and the wider royal family, with revelations including an account of how there were two people involved in the now infamous conversation about her baby’s skin tone.

Elsewhere, King Charles is quoted describing Harry as “that fool” to aides after the Duke of Sussex’s Netflix show drowned out coverage of his father’s work.

King Charles, William and Omid Scobie
Prince William and King Charles III walk behind Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin in London on September 14, 2022. Omid Scobie (inset), author of “Endgame,” says the royal pair are locked in a rivalry.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images/Luke Fontana

William and Kate Middleton were said to have found a South Park roast of Harry and Meghan “hilarious,” but beyond the latest episode of the royal soap opera, Scobie has a more serious point to make.

The author, whose first book, Finding Freedom, sent shockwaves through the world of royal reporting, believes the monarchy must change in order to survive and that it is William rather than Harry who poses the real risk to the king.

“Despite being fed those lines or the briefings about father and son working in lockstep with one another,” he told Newsweek, “we’ve seen father and son on completely different paths at times, with completely different views on things and we haven’t seen them together on engagements.

“You know, we’ve heard William, and people around him, briefing the papers already about how he’ll do things differently. When it was three days after the coronation, it was like ‘William’s [monarchy] will be different, his will be modern, his will be leaner, his will be more cost-effective.’

“The dust hadn’t even settled from Charles’ moment[…]or his comments in Singapore a couple of weeks ago.”

William’s Earthshot Prize awards ceremony, in Singapore, was beaten to the front pages by Charles’ first King’s Speech to Parliament since becoming monarch earlier in November.

The next day, William gave an interview in which he said he wanted to go further than the royals have done previously, moving beyond spotlighting good causes toward building homes for homeless people.

His words would likely have started a firestorm had Harry made them as they would have been interpreted as a veiled swipe at Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy.

Endgame tells a story of petty rivalry, with the king said to have experienced “schadenfreude” over William and Kate’s disastrous tour of the Caribbean in March 2022.

Meanwhile, William’s comments after that tour, in which he said in the future he would do things his own way, were viewed as “disrespectful” by one of Charles’ aides, while another said it was “out of order.”

Scobie argues that William and many palace staff view Charles as a “transitional” monarch, a “bridge” to get from the era of Elizabeth to William’s own reign.

However, Charles, aged 75, could easily be on the throne for at least another 20 years or more and William is already, in Scobie’s view, jockeying for position.

“We’re sort of entering this very long and cold winter, where we have this transitional monarch who potentially could be around for a couple of decades and alongside that, no real big-ticket, landmark moments on the calendar for the royal family.

“There’s [sic] no jubilees, there’s no weddings, there’s no babies, none of this is on the horizon for a long time. So how do they navigate that?

“Rather than what they’ve been able to rely on in the past, which is the distraction that comes with these big moments, it then becomes about the substance. It becomes about the work; and what is that work? What impact is it having?”

This is where Scobie’s characterization of the rivalry between William and Charles becomes key as the institution faces significant challenges, including over race.

Endgame tackles the lack of diversity at the palace, as well as the challenge for the monarchy to confront historic links to slavery, which are mapped out in the book, and, of course, the treatment of Meghan.

“People asked me why I called the book Endgame,” Omid said. “I don’t think that this is the end, I just think that this is potentially.

“And it’s in their hands. Could go one way, or the other…[it could be] the end of the monarchy as we know it because, as we’ve seen across Europe, monarchies do shrink in importance and presence over time, depending on their relevance and importance within society.”

The key fault in the system for Scobie is “selfish agendas, ego. We’re operating in echo chambers. You only need to look at the recent weeks and the engagements, the big-ticket items have all clashed and gone over each other.”

It is not that he doubts William’s capacity to do the job though: “William has universal support throughout the institution. There’s a great deal of excitement and belief in him as a very capable modern monarch, with Charles, you know, even from the kind of the semi-official briefings that we see in the papers—he’s the caretaker king.

“People refer to him to me as like the bridge to a true successor. And before he took the throne, there are a number of people around the Queen and or within Buckingham Palace that felt that he just didn’t have the kind of moxie or the minerals to do the job.

“Even that alone creates a very interesting dynamic when he truly should be and is the number one. Will we reach a point where it will be the literal stepping on toes rather than kind of chomping at the bit, which is where we are now?”

Endgame by Omid Scobie
The cover of “Endgame,” the new royal book by Omid Scobie, author of Finding Freedom. The book was published by Dey Street on Tuesday, November 28.

Ultimately, the book aims for lofty heights, confronting whether the royals have a future in the modern world.

There is also, however, a significant amount of royal soap opera for those who are fans of palace gossip.

Those aspects may also sit uncomfortably with traditional monarchists, including fans of Kate, who is painted as unambitious and, according to a former aide, “uninspiring and frustrating” to work for.

The Princess of Wales “spent more time talking about Meghan than talking to her,” according to a source.

Meanwhile, a close friend of Harry and Meghan has said they are “closer than ever,” and “genuinely happy.”

“For many of those in the press,” Scobie wrote, “Kate is the monarchy’s last ‘shiny thing’ for many years to come, even more so given William’s slow fade into his staid institutional role and the departure of Harry and Meghan.”

While the whole name and concept of the book invites the inference that the British monarchy could fall in the years to come, Scobie does believe it’s possible not only William but also Prince George will get to be king.

However, he says they must modernize to retain their place in the world: “The important thing that I’ve tried to make clear with this book is that I’m not declaring the end of the monarchy, I’m not saying that there won’t be a world in which William or George is on the throne.

“But I do think that we’ve reached this pinnacle point where the royal family as we know it, the size of it, the presence on the world stage, the importance or relevancy, is somewhat at stake, due to a history of not modernizing at the same pace as the rest of the world.”

Endgame was published by Dey Street, an imprint of HarperCollins, on Tuesday, November 28.

Jack Royston is chief royal correspondent for Newsweek, based in London. You can find him on X, formerly Twitter, at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

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