Heritage

Here's Why Trump and the Obamas Aren't Invited to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Wedding

Royal biographer Duncan Larcombe says its due to diplomatic reasons.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding day is set for May 19, but the world's political leaders won't have to save the date. A Kensington Palace Spokesman confirmed to Harper's BAZAAR that no political leaders, including Barack and Michelle Obama as well as Donald Trump, are invited.

"It has been decided that an official list of political leaders – both UK and international - is not required for Prince Harry and Ms. Markle's wedding," the spokesman said. "Her Majesty's Government was consulted on this decision, which was taken by The Royal Household."


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"President and Mrs. Obama are not coming to the wedding, but the couples look forward to seeing each other soon," a royal source added.

In January, royal biographer Duncan Larcombe told TownandCountrymag.com that despite Barack Obama and Prince Harry’s budding friendship, it would be “extremely unlikely” that the former President and First Lady of the United States would be invited to this year’s royal wedding,

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 said he was "almost certain" that the Obamas will not be going to the wedding. Larcombe's predictions have now been confirmed.

Larcombe, a British journalist and biographer of Prince Harry: The Inside Story, added 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 explained. “Harry and Meghan will be guided by the Foreign Office’s advice."

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In an interview with Piers Morgan on ITV earlier this year, President Trump responded "not that I know of" when asked if he has received an invitation. Trump also said that Harry and Markle were a "lovely couple" and wished them the best by saying, "I want them to be happy, I really want them to be happy," even after hearing that Markle had criticized him in the past.  

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In May 2016, while Trump was campaigning for the U.S. presidency, Markle spoke out about the election on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, according to The Independent. “It's really the moment that I go, we film Suits in Toronto and I might just stay in Canada," she said. "I mean come on, if that's reality we are talking about, come on, that is a game changer in terms of how we move in the world here."

Despite Trump's well-wishes, he will not be getting an invitation. "Trump should possibly put a little pencil mark in his diary, but not hold his breath," royal biographer Duncan Larcombe told TownandCountrymag.com in January.


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Diplomatic concerns are likely the reason the president of the United States did not receive an invitation to the royal wedding, said the author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story. (Larcombe also believed that Harry was strongly advised to not invite Barack Obama for the same reason).

"If the Obamas turned up and Donald Trump was snubbed, then that would cause problems for the British government in terms of foreign diplomacy and the special relationship [between the U.S. and the U.K]," Larcombe explained. "Harry and Meghan wouldn’t want their wedding overshadowed by that."

Aside from political allegiances, Larcombe said Trump may not be invited because he simply does not have a personal relationship with Harry. (In Obama's case, he does—Harry and the 44th president have a shared history 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.)

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Trump has not met Harry in person and has not yet made a presidential trip to the U.K. "[Harry could argue] that he's only inviting people he knows," Larcombe said. He also has a complicated history with the royal family, having made comments about both Princess Diana and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge that the Queen's family may not have been pleased with.


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“I think part of their understanding is that Harry served as a soldier at the time when Obama was Commander-in-Chief,” Larcombe explained. “But there’s a different friendship there, rather than like a business relationship.”

Larcombe added 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 said.

Despite Harry and Megan noticeable attempts at ripping up the royal rule book (case and point: their unconventional engagement photo shoot), Larcombe said he thinks that Harry will still heed 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 said. At Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011, no heads of state were invited.

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“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 said, adding that the British royal family has historically remained politically neutral. "It’s all very carefully orchestrated to make sure that there are no political overtones." (It's worth noting that since the Queen is the head of state for some Commonwealth countries, including Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might not fall on the "do not invite" list.)

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“[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.

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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 said 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 added. 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.


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So, with the Trumps and the Obamas off the guest list, who in the U.S. will make the cut? According to Larcombe, you can expect Markle's family and her close friends in Hollywood to get the nod.


"I would predict that her entire cast of colleagues of Suits, for example, will be there," Larcombe shared. "[At] William and Kate’s wedding they were all kinds of celebrities there—Elton John and David Beckham. Hollywood and the royals have a long association going back very many decades."

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Other foreign royals who attended William and Kate's wedding, like the Queen of Denmark, the Crown Princess of Sweden, the Queen of Spain and others, are also expected to attend.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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