Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to wed next month but for their special day, which is sure to attract the attention of millions worldwide, they have decided that they don't want any gifts. Instead, they're looking to help out a select group of charities.
"Prince Harry & Ms. Meghan Markle are incredibly grateful for the goodwill they have received since their engagement," a representative of royal residence Kensington Palace said in a statement on Twitter. They "have asked that anyone who might wish to mark the occasion of their wedding considers giving to charity, instead of sending a gift.
"The couple have personally chosen 7 charities which represent a range of issues they are passionate about," the palace says, "including sport for social change, women's empowerment, conservation, the environment, homelessness, HIV and the Armed Forces."
Specifically, those charities are:
- StreetGames, a sports-focused charity aimed at helping those in disadvantaged communities
- The Myna Mahila Foundation, a charity that provides personal and professional support for women in the poorest parts of Mumbai
- Surfers Against Sewage, a national marine conservation and campaigning charity
- The Wilderness Foundation UK, which aims to preserve wild spaces and promotes the benefits and enjoyment of nature
- Crisis, a program that offers education, employment, housing and other services for the homeless
- The Children's HIV Association, which offers support to young people living with HIV across the U.K. and Ireland
- Scotty's Little Soldiers, a charity for children who have lost a parent serving in the British Armed Forces.
The bride and groom have ties to these charities, reports People: "Prince Harry has made it his mission to continue his late mother, Princess Diana's efforts to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS through his royal work. Harry has campaigned for people to take HIV tests and even publicly took one himself."
Markle, a women's rights advocate, recently visited the Myna Mahila Foundation to learn about issues and challenges facing the women who live there. "I traveled to Delhi and Mumbai this January with World Vision to meet girls and women directly impacted by the stigmatization of menstrual health and to learn how it hinders girls' education," she wrote in an essay for Time.
"During my time, many girls shared that they feel embarrassed to go to school during their periods, ill-equipped with rags instead of pads, unable to participate in sports, and without bathrooms available to care for themselves, they often opt to drop out of school entirely."
By choosing that wedding gifts be made in the form of donations, the bride and groom, who have invited 2,640 people to Windsor Castle to help celebrate their wedding, hope to address issues facing under-served communities.
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