Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have sent out their wedding invitations, but one couple who seemed to be some of Harry’s close friends didn’t get an invite: the Obamas. Yes, you read that right: Barack and Michelle Obama will not be at the royal wedding, and Kensington Palace explained why.
“It has been decided that an official list of political leaders—both U.K. and international—is not required for Prince Harry and Ms. Markle’s wedding. Her Majesty’s Government was consulted on this decision, which was taken by The Royal Household,” a Kensington Palace spokesman said on Tuesday.
The reasoning is that because Harry will likely never be the King of England, it’s unnecessary for official guests to be in attendance. Instead, the wedding will feel more personal, with all of the attendees having a connection to Meghan and Harry.
While that sounds lovely, there is a definite downside to the decision: Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle won’t be on the guest list. Barack and Harry have enjoyed quite the bromance over the years, with Harry interviewing the former POTUS back in December in an intimate chat. Barack also visited the Harry’s Invictus Games in September and watched a few matches with the prince. It was coincidentally the same event where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their relationship public, just a few months before their engagement news.
Kensington Palace’s announcement also means that President Donald Trump and his wife Melania will not be in attendance at the royal wedding on May 19. Earlier reports had suggested that Meghan and Harry were struggling with wanting to invite the Obamas but not the Trumps, and it seems that they’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to do so would be to avoid inviting the Obamas at all, despite their friendship. While they won't be at the wedding, “Both the couples look forward to seeing each other soon,” a royal source told People.
That’s not the only wedding news that the couple announced on Tuesday. The charitable duo are inviting 1,200 members of the public into their celebration at Windsor Castle—they’ll be among the 2,640 people invited—and this week they highlighted some of the people who have received invitations. The lucky guests are “young people who have shown strong leadership, and those who have served their communities.”
Philip Gillespie from Ballymena is one of those young people. He lost his leg in an IED incident in Afghanistan and works to raise funds and awareness for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. Considering Prince Harry served in Afghanistan and himself had some close calls with IEDs, it’s clear why Gillespie received an invite.
Also invited are Pamela Anomneze, the manager of a collective that helps those with mental health issues recover through creative arts; Reuben Litherland, a child who was born deaf and teaches sign language to his fellow students during lunch; and Amy Wright, the Chair of Board of Directors for a café that provides employment training for young people with special needs.