Omid Scobie tells all on his friendship with Duchess Meghan

Lifting the lid on his dealings with the duchess, Omid exposes his Endgame

Omid Scobie would like to make one thing very clear. The British journalist turned author is not, and never has been, good friends with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

As the shockwaves from his book about the royal family, Endgame, reverberate around the world, and he cops flak for some of the negative things he’s written, in particular about the King and the Prince and Princess of Wales, he wants to point out that the book is his take on the royals based on 13 years of writing about them and information from the many contacts he has made in that time.

Meghan and her husband Prince Harry didn’t collaborate with him on the book, and he isn’t their unofficial spokesperson, he’s at pains to point out.

“I know nobody is going to believe me when I say that we’re not best mates,” sighs Omid, whose previous book Finding Freedom focused on Meghan and Harry’s decision to leave their senior royal roles. “I could do without being known as the Sussexes’ mouthpiece, but as much as I continue to explain the realities of our relationship – or lack of one – I know that once the press pick a nickname, or decide upon a narrative, it’s there for life.”

Omid, 42, is speaking to the Weekly via Zoom a few days before the publication of Endgame, which takes an unflinching look at the royal family today. He says he’s anticipating a harsh backlash as a result of some of the bombshells in the book – such as his descriptions of William as “hot-headed” and “scheming”, and Kate as a “part-time royal” – and he’s not wrong about the response.

Omid isn’t concerned about a backlash. “My skin is so thick now, I think I can take it.”

Within hours of hitting the shelves, the book was being described in the UK media as venomous, vicious and nasty. Media personality Piers Morgan went as far as to call Omid a “little weasel” and refuted claims Omid made in the book about his relationship with Queen Camilla.

Just about every article on the book has dubbed him the “Sussexes’ cheerleader-in-chief” or something similar, saying he’s biased against the rest of the royals because he’s close to Meghan and Harry.

But Omid insists he’s just telling it like it is, and if his work comes across as pro-Meghan and Harry that’s because he has felt compelled to counter negative stories about the couple that began circulating after the American actress started dating the prince back in 2016.

“I get accused of being Team Harry and Meghan, and I can see why that is, but I am someone who simply appreciates the decent treatment of other human beings. And when I see injustice, I can’t keep it to myself.

“With Harry and Meghan, I could see there were areas where they could have handled things differently, but ultimately to me, it doesn’t matter if Meghan’s annoying or if she sends emails first thing in the morning, or if she put air freshener in the church [all things for which the duchess has been criticised].

“The reality is this was a good person who just wanted to do the job and is being treated like absolute garbage.”

Of Harry and Meghan, Omid insists, “When I see injustice, I can’t keep it to myself.” Still, some are calling him the “Sussexes’ cheerleader-in-chief”.

While Omid denies Meghan and Harry had any input into Endgame, it was revealed two years ago that when it came to Finding Freedom, Meghan did give one of her aides information to pass on to Omid and his co-author Carolyn Durand.

Meghan, initially denied helping them, but later admitted during a court case against a newspaper publisher that she’d forgotten she had provided briefing points for her staffer to share.

Omid says the information for Endgame has come from mutual friends and various contacts, including from within the palace. While he’s adamant that he’s not friends with the Sussexes, Endgame does include an anecdote about how the duchess once phoned him to see how he was coping after he was attacked online for writing Finding Freedom.

“I was hesitant to put that in because I was so aware of this narrative that her and I are secret best friends and everything I write is straight from her mouth.

“It isn’t – I was just lucky that I had some friends in common with her because I knew some of the people working on Suits [her TV show], and I knew some people from the social scene in Toronto [where Suits was filmed] and it helped me in those early days to have a lead on the story.

“But in the end, I did decide to put in the book that she had phoned me because this was a member of the royal family calling out of the blue to express some sympathy for the vitriol and online hate that I was dealing with at the time.

“This wasn’t out of character for Meghan – she had also reached out to another journalist covering the royal beat and you will probably never hear this because it’s too positive a story, but they experienced a tragic event in their lives and Meghan personally reached out to them, despite there not being any relationship there either.

“That’s just the person she is and regardless of whether people think she’s ‘too this’ or ‘too that’, the version I have got to see of her is the person I’ve always been honest about in my coverage.”

While Omid denies a friendship with Meghan and Harry, he has talked to the duchess on the phone and they have friends in common from her Suits days.

What can’t be denied is that Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, definitely come across more favourably than many other members of the family in the 400-page tome. While there are some positive details about the King and Queen Camilla and William and Kate, there are plenty of controversial bombshells, such as calling Kate “coachable” and saying William was behind briefings to media that his brother’s mental health was “fragile”.

Writing about the day the Queen died, Omid says William refused to answer texts from Harry, so the younger sibling was unable to join his brother and other senior royals on a private jet to Balmoral. He had to pay $62,000 to charter a plane and by the time he landed in Scotland, the public statement announcing her death had been released. He hadn’t been told first.

Omid started writing Endgame shortly before the Queen died because he wanted to take an in-depth look at how an institution steeped in tradition was coping in modern times. The direction of the book changed because of her passing and the start of a new era under Charles III. Omid believes the British royals are now at a crucial point in their history.

“It’s crunch time. The royal family is trying to justify its existence to a growing number of people, especially young ones, who feel it is losing its relevancy. And the dramas the family members have been through are very damaging.”

He writes in the book, “King Charles and Prince William have already displayed signs that they are allowing selfish agendas, a culture of cover-ups and PR trickery and family discord to take over the House of Windsor. It’s an outcome the royal family can avoid, but only if there is change.”

Omid says he is okay with sticking his head above the parapet with what he’s written in Endgame.

“I am burning some bridges here by focusing on the story rather than what’s good for me, and making sure I still have contacts and access to the royal family.

“I’ve been enduring a backlash for the last five years, so it doesn’t make much difference at this point. I’ve seen every negative, out-of-proportion or out-of-context headline about myself, but my skin is so thick now, I think I can take it.”

Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy’s Fight for Survival by Omid Scobie (HarperCollins, rrp $39.99).

Omid, who is now a freelancer, working mostly for Harper’s Bazaar and ABC News, says in the past he was “frozen out” by William, who wasn’t happy with stories he wrote alleging the future king knew his staff were leaking information about Harry. He says William cut his access to engagements and press releases for nearly 10 months.

“That showed how much I got dragged into what was going on with the Sussexes and the royal family.”

The royal family has a tradition of not speaking out about claims made about them, such as those that appear in Omid’s book, but plenty of other people have been jumping in to defend them.

Long-time royal correspondent Richard Kay has described the book as a “hatchet-job” full of “demonstrably unfair claims”, while veteran royal photographer Arthur Edwards has rubbished Omid’s assertion that Kate is so nervous on assignments, all she can do is smile. He says she smiles because she’s happy in her role.

“When I was an editor for US Weekly magazine, I had to tread really carefully,” says Omid. “I didn’t want to get chucked out. I wanted to be at the next drinks reception and get to chat to William and Kate. But eventually, I thought, ‘You know what? I’m just going to report it as I see it.'”

Endgame’s bombshell claims

  • The King has been known to turn a blind eye while aides leak details about his sons to the press.

  • William is very ambitious and his views are very different to his father’s, which could cause issues in the future.

  • Comments about the colour of Prince Archie’s skin were made by two members of the royal family, not one.

  • Meghan decided not to attend the King’s coronation, not just because it clashed with Archie’s fourth birthday, but because she didn’t want to “be near the noise and drama any more”.

  • Kate can be cold if she doesn’t like someone and has been known to “jokingly shiver” whenever Meghan’s name is mentioned. The pair have barely spoken since 2019.

  • The King told members of the royal family not to trust Harry after the publication of Spare.

  • Princess Anne played a key role in getting the King to evict Harry and Meghan from Frogmore Cottage.

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