By Niall Carson/AFP/Getty Images.
They have already inspired royal watchers to dub their nuptials “The People’s Wedding,” and now Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have found a way to
The couple have shared a list of seven independent charities with their families and close friends, asking that “anyone who might wish to mark the occasion considers making a donation to charity, rather than sending a wedding gift.” In a statement from Kensington Palace, the couple’s spokesman said that the pair had been “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.”
The charities chosen by Meghan and Harry (click here for a fuller outline) are Crisis, a homeless charity in the U.K.; Chiva, which works with young people living with H.I.V.; the Myna Mahila Foundation in India working to empower women and young girls in Mumbai’s slums; Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a small charity to
“We’d struggle to be more delighted,” Mark Lawrie, deputy chief executive of StreetGames said moments after the announcement. “Meghan came to one of our sessions in Cardiff in January, and for the young people it was just wonderful. They had such an amazing day. It’s the personal interest in what was going on that really impressed us. We really felt that on the day. Harry’s been to visit some of our activities before, so to have Meghan on board as well is great. One of the things that is important to us is girl empowerment, and Meghan really sends that message out. Being chosen as one of the charities is an amazing profile-raising opportunity. Things like our social media will go global, which is fantastic.”
Harry and Meghan have no formal relationships with the charities they have picked, though it is obvious they have chosen organizations that resonate with them personally. Meghan visited the Myna Mahila Foundation during a recent trip to India. According to a spokesman, they “are pleased to be able to amplify and shine a light on their work.”
The couple has discussed at length how they want to use their platforms to promote causes that are important to them. Last week, Meghan revealed how she and Harry are looking forward to traveling to Sydney in October to support the Invictus Games, Harry’s international sporting championship for wounded service personnel. According to a friend, “They see themselves becoming a jet-setting humanitarian duo doing great work around the world. It’s something they talked about very early on in the relationship.”
On Sunday, Meghan’s former agent Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne revealed how Meghan told her, just weeks after meeting Harry, whom she called “Haz,” that together they would change the world.
In the interview they gave in November, the day they announced their engagement, Harry talked about them being a team: “Together there’s a hell of a lot of stuff and work that needs doing.” And the couple haven’t waited to get down to business, carrying out an action-packed mini tour of the U.K. and visiting charities and organizations in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.
Like his mother Diana, Harry is a philanthropist and Meghan shares the same desire to do good work. Those who know the couple say it was Meghan’s campaigning and charitable streak that immediately drew Harry to her when they met. By using their wedding to help others, Harry and Meghan will spend their wedding day doing what they intend to do for the rest of their marriage.