Kensington Palace has released a statement asking well-wishers to make a donation to charity rather than sending wedding presents.
The couple has personally chosen seven charities which represent a range of issues that they are passionate about, including sport for social change, women’s empowerment, conservation, the environment, homelessness, HIV and the Armed Forces.
Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle are 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 couple have therefore asked that anyone who might wish to mark the occasion considers making a donation to charity, rather than sending a wedding gift.
Prince Harry and Ms Markle have personally selected seven organisations they would like to support, reflecting their shared values.
Prince Harry and Ms Markle do not have any formal relationships with the seven charities. Many are small charities and the couple are pleased to be able to amplify and shine a light on their work.
The Seven Charities
CHIVA (Children’s HIV Association)
The Childen’s HIV Association (CHIVA) supports children growing up with HIV and their families across the UK and Ireland.
The charity works to ensure young people have the knowledge, understanding, skills and support needed to live well and achieve their greatest potential.
Dr Amanda Williams, Chair of CHIVA, said, ‘We are delighted and honoured that Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle have chosen to recognise our work supporting the health and well-being of children and young people living with HIV in the UK and Ireland. We are grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness of the complex issues for young people growing up with HIV. We are a very small charity and through our work, we support over 1,000 young people living with HIV. All donations will make a significant difference to our programmes of work and lead to direct improvements in the lives of these young people.’
Crisis is Britain’s national charity for homeless people, which helps with rebuilding their lives and to find housing, employment, education, advice services and one-to-one support.
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said, ‘We are hugely grateful that Prince Harry and Ms Markle are asking the public to support Crisis as they celebrate their wedding. Homelessness is one of the most urgent issues of our time, but at Crisis we know what it takes to end it. Donations will help us to support more people to leave homelessness behind through our housing, employment, education and advice services across the country, and to campaign for the changes needed to solve the homelessness crisis once and for all.’
Myna Mahila Foundation
Ms Markle visited Myna Mahila Foundation last year to see their work firsthand and wrote an article for Time Magazine afterwards.
Myna Mahila Foundation is a charity which empowers women in Mumbai’s urban slums, by providing a trusted network, where they receive support both professionally and personally to help them grow as individuals and businesswomen.
The charity provides stable employment close to home and empowers its staff through training in women’s health, English, Maths, and life skills such as self-defence.
Suhani Jalota, who founded Myna Mahila in 2015, said, ‘Myna Mahila Foundation is delighted to be a part of this special occasion for Ms Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. This support will enable us to expand our reach into more urban slums in Mumbai, empowering local women through access to menstrual hygiene products and employment opportunities.’
Scotty’s Little Soldiers
Scotty’s Little Soldiers offers vital support for bereaved Armed Forces children, who lost a parent whilst serving in the British Armed Forces.
War widow Nikki Scott founded the charity based on her own experiences following the death of her husband Corporal Lee Scott in Afghanistan in 2009.
The charity provides fun activities such as holiday breaks and group events, personal development assistance through educational grants and access to professional bereavement counselling.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers Founder, Nikki Scott, said, ‘To have been personally chosen by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is an incredible honour for Scotty’s Little Soldiers and we are extremely grateful for the opportunity. Having met Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace last year, I know that the Armed Forces and looking after the children our heroes have left behind is close to his heart.
‘Scotty’s Little Soldiers offers a vital support network for children, who at such a young age, have already gone through so much. Just having the opportunity to spend time with other children who have gone through something similar or receiving a gift on the anniversary of their parent’s death can help reassure them that they are not alone.’
StreetGames was launched in 2007 to use sport to change lives across the UK, helping people and communities to become healthier, safer and more successful.
So far, StreetGames has helped over 900 community organisations across the UK to take sport to disadvantaged communities.
The charity uses sport to empower young people to ‘kick-start’ a cycle of positive change in their own lives which affects their disadvantaged communities.
Jane Ashworth OBE, CEO of StreetGames, said: ‘All of us at StreetGames are absolutely thrilled to have been personally chosen by Prince Harry and Ms Markle. It’s a great honour to have our work using sport to change lives and communities recognised in this way.’
Surfers Against Sewage
Surfers Against Sewage is a national marine conservation and campaigning charity which inspires, unites and empowers communities to take action to protect oceans, beaches, waves and wildlife.
The charity is a grassroots movement based in Cornwall has grown into one of Great Britain’s most active and successful environmental charities.
Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage, said, ‘Surfers Against Sewage is thrilled to be one of the charities chosen to benefit from donations marking the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle. Our work as a national marine conservation charity empowers tens of thousands of volunteers annually to protect beaches for everyone. We are currently focused on tackling plastic pollution and this support will help us move towards our vision of Plastic Free Coastlines.’
The Wilderness Foundation UK
The Wilderness Foundation UK promotes benefits and enjoyment of wild nature by helping to build resilience in vulnerable teenagers, introduces rural employment to urban youth and bring science to life.
Jo Roberts, CEO of The Wilderness Foundation UK, said, ‘We are deeply touched and honoured that Prince Harry and Ms Markle have chosen to support The Wilderness Foundation and its beneficiaries. As the world’s population grows exponentially the planet’s remaining wild places and resources are coming under increasing threat. It has never been more important for us as humans to protect the planet that gives us life. Whilst teaching conservation values, we, in turn, use the positive power of nature to support and recharge the lives of challenged and vulnerable young people and adults.’