Despite Barack Obama and Prince Harry’s budding friendship, it is “extremely unlikely” that the former President and First Lady of the United States will be invited to this year’s royal wedding, Duncan Larcombe tells TownandCountrymag.com.
In December, CNN reported that Prince Harry told the BBC he didn't want to "ruin that surprise," when asked if he would invite Obama, but Larcombe says he is "almost certain" that the Obamas will not be going to the wedding. The official invitations, however, have not been released.
Larcombe, a British journalist and biographer of Prince Harry: The Inside Story, adds that reports of the British government pleading for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to exclude Michelle and Barack are likely true. “Diplomacy is very important,” he explains. “Harry and Meghan will be guided by the Foreign Office’s advice."
The Foreign Office, which is responsible for protecting and promoting British interests worldwide, typically advises inviting foreign royals, dignitaries, and diplomats to royal weddings, Larcombe says. At Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011, no heads of state were invited. Larcombe says he expects Harry to follow in his older brother’s footsteps.
“There were religious leaders, members of the royal family, and Commonwealth countries that were invited. I suspect that will be the same blueprint that [Meghan and Harry] will use," he says, adding that the British royal family have historically remained politically neutral. "It’s all very carefully orchestrated to make sure that
However, Larcombe acknowledges that Prince Harry and Obama have forged a very genuine friendship over the years. The pair were photographed together at the 2017 Invictus Games, Harry attended the first Obama Foundation Summit, Obama sent the newly engaged couple a congratulatory tweet in November, and Harry most recently interviewed the former president for the BBC.
Prince Harry interviews former US President Barack Obama as part of his guest editorship of BBC Radio 4's Today program.
“I think part of their understanding is that Harry served as a soldier at the time when Obama was Commander-in-Chief,” Larcombe explains. “But there’s a different friendship there, rather than like a business relationship.”
Larcombe adds that he expects Harry might reach out to Obama personally to explain since they are friends—and that Obama won't be offended. “I’m sure of all the people that would understand, it would be Barack Obama,” Larcombe says.
Despite Harry and Megan noticeable attempts at ripping up the royal rule book (case and point: their unconventional engagement photo shoot), Larcombe says he thinks that Harry will still heed the Foreign Office’s advice.
“[Harry and Meghan] are real people and they do want to do their own thing, but I think they’ll also be very conscious of the fact that, from a [public relations] point of view, any major mistakes… you could regret that for a very long time,” he says.
Another obstacle that Meghan and Harry will have to confront is the size of the venue. The couple announced that they will be getting married at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19. The church has a maximum capacity of 900 guests, which Larcombe says is less than half the number of people invited to William and Kate’s wedding at Westminster Abbey, where 1,900 invites went out.
“I honestly think they will be tearing their hair out trying to work out the list and it has to go through so many hoops,” Larcombe adds. Because the invitations have to be approved by the government and the Queen, the final invitations are expected to go out about a month before the wedding.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.