British royal weddings are usually grand affairs of state, where presidents and prime ministers rub shoulders with obscure European monarchs. Not so, the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Kensington Palace announced on Tuesday that the royal couple would not be inviting political leaders to the event, at least not on the basis of their official position. Which means neither US President Donald Trump nor his predecessor Barack Obama will be there. Not even British Prime Minister Theresa May was deemed worthy of a place on the guest list.
Instead, only personal friends of the couple will be inside Windsor Castle for the royal event of the year on May 19.
“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,” a Kensington Palace spokesman said. “Her Majesty’s Government was consulted on this decision, which was taken by the royal household.”
A White House official confirmed neither Trump nor first lady Melania were invited; nor was Prime Minister May, Downing Street said.
A royal source said that while Harry and Meghan hoped to see Barack and Michelle Obama soon, the former US President and his wife would not be at the wedding. The source would not say definitively whether the Obamas — who are close to the royal couple — had been invited.
Unlike the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, this royal wedding is not an official state occasion and is regarded as a private ceremony, so there is no onus on the couple to invite political leaders.
CNN understands that some world leaders may be invited on the basis of their personal relationships with Harry and Meghan.
The ceremony, which will take place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, is being held in a much smaller venue than Westminster Abbey, where Harry’s older brother, Prince William, married Kate Middleton. Around 1,900 people attended the ceremony in 2011, while the chapel hosting the wedding in May has a capacity of just 800.
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SOURCE: CNN, Max Foster, Jeff Zeleny and Judith Vonberg