There is so much that takes place on our wedding day that sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of it all. For most of us, the wedding begins long before the day arrives and there is plenty of planning that takes place. We want everything to be perfect and we try to control every part of the event so that it goes off without a hitch. One of the areas that we try to control is the gifts but sometimes, things don’t go as planned.
That was the case for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle when they recently got married. You wouldn’t typically think about them receiving any wedding gifts because, quite honestly, they are the couple that has everything. The fact of the matter is, however, they got plenty of gifts and some of them were quite extravagant. As it turns out, many of those gifts had to go back.
A number of gift boxes were received at Kensington Palace in celebration of the Royal wedding. According to some estimates, they have received gifts from celebrities and certain companies for approximately £7 million.
The Royal guidelines have something to say about receiving gifts:
“Gifts offered by commercial enterprises in the UK should normally be declined, unless they are offered as a souvenir of an official visit to the enterprises’ premises, to mark a Royal marriage or other special personal occasions. 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.”
In addition, it says the following: “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.”
There is another reason why the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would want to return these wedding gifts. In an effort to control the gift giving, like many of us do, they asked that donations be given in lieu of gifts to various charities. They even provided a list of charities that were of interest to them individually and as a couple.
Admittedly, there were a lot of people who did donate to charity, including Justin Trudeau, the Canadian president. In doing so, they honored the wishes of the royal couple.
Trudeau didn’t give the donation personally, but rather, Canada donated £29,000 ($50,000) to Jumpstart, a youth charity. Jumpstart makes sports and play accessible for individuals who have disadvantages.
£2,500 was also being given to a charity by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Arden. Their country was making the gift to Pillars, an organization that supports families and children of prisoners.
This isn’t the first time that a royal couple had to face this type of difficulty. Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton also had to return gifts that were given, contrary to their wishes.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, up until this point, have returned approximately £30 million worth of free gifts. If you happen to be conversion challenged, that’s about $53 million! Many of those gifts were associated with the birth of their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.