Harry and Meghan haven’t even been married for a fortnight yet. The lucky people who got to attend the event are still picking confetti out of their hair, digging into their exclusive goodie bags, and reminiscing about the special day.
In the few days since, the newlyweds have been busy attending events, going to parties and getting attacked by bees, and all the while firmly securing their place as the nation’s new favourite sweethearts.
Now, in a move that’s ultimately only going to win the pair more favour with the public, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are having to return £7 million of gifts that were sent to them in celebration of their wedding.
Returning gifts? Are you mad? At the very least they should be exchanging them, right?
Well, as with most things concerning the royal family, normal rules don’t apply and unfortunately they can’t accept unsolicited gifts, especially when the presents have been sent from companies and celebrities in an attempt to gain free publicity.
As the Daily Mail reports, before the wedding Harry and Meghan sent out guidelines saying which said cameras, bags and mobile phones would have to be handed in before the event to avoid any ‘image capture’.
The guidelines also said:
It should be noted that gifts cannot be brought to St George’s Chapel or the Reception that follows at Windsor Castle. Guests are advised to seek further guidance on delivery arrangements for any gifts to Kensington Palace.
While Harry and Meghan set up a wedding registry for their closest friends and family with the members’ club Soho House, Kensington Palace has strict rules when it comes to businesses trying to use the royals for free publicity, according to the Express.
The rules state:
When gifts are accepted, the consent of the Member of the Royal Family should be contingent upon the enterprise undertaking not to exploit the gift for commercial purposes.
And, when the gifts are from an individual, the rules say:
Gifts offered by private individuals living in the UK not personally known to the Member of the Royal Family should be refused where there are concerns about the propriety or motives of the donor or the gift itself.
Harry and Meghan were of course well aware of these rules, and requested people who wish to send gifts instead donate to one of seven charities chosen by the couple. These charities were CHIVA (Children’s HIV Association), Crisis, Myna Mahila Foundation, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, StreetGames, Surfers Against Sewage and The Wilderness Foundation UK.
Some people, however, did things a little differently. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, for example, issued a statement saying Canada will donate £29,000 (£50,000 Canadian) to a youth charity called Jumpstart. Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said the country will be making a donation to the Invictus Games charity, a cause close to Harry’s heart. While the charity Peta announced that a recently adopted bull will be named ‘Merry’, a combination of Meghan and Harry.
While Kensington Palace will take care of the returned gifts, there can’t be any harm keeping an eye on the charity shops round Windsor, if you know what I mean.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.