London (December 28, 2017): Britain’s Prince Harry has avoided opening up a diplomatic rift between the British and US governments over the guest list for his wedding to Meghan Markle, saying plans had yet to be finalized.
Asked on a program whether he would invite former US President Barack Obama Harry swerved the question, saying he didn’t want to “ruin that surprise.”
There has been speculation in the UK media that British officials fear the political consequences if the couple decide to invite Barack and Michelle Obama, with whom they are friends, but not President Donald Trump.
Markle, an American actor, has been critical of Trump in the past, and there is already widespread controversy in the UK over the prospect of an official visit by the President to the UK.
The wedding is not a full state occasion and the guest list is being drawn up by Buckingham Palace, with the British government in a consultative role. It is not clear whether Downing Street would insist on Trump or a representative being invited, or whether it could block an invitation being extended to the Obama.
After a pre-taped exchange between Harry and Obama, the Prince was asked whether his friendship with the former President warranted an invitation to the wedding.
“We haven’t put the invites or the guest list together yet so who knows whether he’s going to be invited or not. I wouldn’t want to ruin that surprise,” the prince said.
Harry has become close to the Obamas through their support for the Invictus Games, an event for injured servicemen and women that was started by the UK royal in 2014.
The Prince and Markle, who announced their engagement last month, have set May 19 as their wedding date. The ceremony is to be held in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, west of London.
UK newspapers have already begun speculating over who might be on the guest list, which could bring together an intriguing mix of British and showbiz aristocracy.
Harry and Markle spent Christmas with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, as well as other family members, at Sandringham, the Queen’s country estate in rural Norfolk, about 100 miles north of London.