You didn't see President Trump or the first lady in London for the royal wedding Saturday. They weren't invited. But that didn't stop them from sending their well wishes to the happy couple in the form of a gift. And the Trumps' gift to Prince Harry & Meghan Markle was just what the couple wanted: a cash donation to one of their seven selected charities.
The gift was revealed by Us Weekly on Friday. "President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will be making a contribution to one of the seven charities the royal couple has designated in lieu of gifts,” White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters told the magazine in a statement.
Markle and Harry’s selected charities are Chiva Projects, Crisis, Corporal Scotty, Myna Mahila, Surfers Against Sewage, Street Games and Wilderness UK. Among the causes they support are women's empowerment, the environment, homelessness, and children living with HIV. The couple's wishes were explained in a statement.
“Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle are incredibly grateful for the goodwill shown to them since the announcement of their engagement and are keen that as many people as possible benefit from this generosity of spirit,” Kensington Palace said in a statement. “The couple have therefore asked that anyone who might wish to mark the occasion considers making a donation to charity, rather than sending a wedding gift.”
Those who made the guest list — as well as the general public — were encouraged to do as the Trumps did, to make a donation. The charities all have had a personal connection to the couple. Chairwoman Dr. Amanda Williams of CHIVA, the group that supports children living with HIV, spoke to People about the couple's interest in the organization.
She told People that Harry visited the organization and made a connection with some of the children. "He was very easy and had a lot of understanding about the issues," Williams said. "He wants to help and try to tackle the stigma of HIV and particularly the stigma of young growing up with HIV."
She said she supports the move to favor donations over gifts. "They have a passion for a number of charitable causes and we are delighted that this is one of the issues they are passionate about,” Williams, told the magazine “and using the wedding to highlight these issues and hopefully raise some money is a great way for all of us to enjoy the festivities. It’s a lovely idea.”
The Trumps were not slighted by not being invited to the wedding — in fact, no heads of state or political leaders were invited to the wedding. "It has been decided that an official list of political leaders — both U.K. and international — is not required for Prince Harry and Ms. Markle’s wedding," a palace spokesperson said in an April statement. "Her Majesty’s Government was consulted on this decision, which was taken by The Royal Household.”
Even if the Trumps had been invited, it's unlikely the two would have attended. The first lady just returned to the White House on Saturday after spending five days at a military hospital recovering from a kidney surgery. Her communications director, Stephanie Grisham, said she is "resting comfortably and remains in high spirits.”
There was some speculation as to whether Barack and Michelle Obama would be invited. The former president visited Prince Harry last May at Kensington Palace. A spokesperson said the two "discussed support for veterans, mental health, conservation, empowering young people and the work of their respective foundations." In the end, they did not make the guest list.
There's no word on whether they also made a donation.