The British government has urged Prince Harry not to invite the Obama family to his upcoming wedding, in order to avoid offending President Trump.
Prince Harry and his fiancée Meghan Markle allegedly said they want former President Barack Obama and the former First Lady to attend their celebration on May 19 next year. The prince is said to be close friends with the Obamas. In 2016, he spent time with them during the Invictus Games — a multi-sport event Prince Harry created for wounded armed services personnel and veterans. The prince also interviewed Mr. Obama for BBC Radio 4’s popular “Today Programme”. On hearing news of the royal engagement, Mr. Obama tweeted that he and his wife were “delighted” and added, “We wish you a lifetime of joy and happiness together”.
However, the special relationship between Downing Street and the White House administration has soured over recent months. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd criticized President Trump for retweeting a British nationalist political organization and condemned his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Muslim Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, accused Trump of promoting vile extremism and said that his visit to the U.K. “would not be welcomed”. Several British members of parliament for the left-wing socialist Labour Party even called for the president to be arrested under the United Kingdom’s controversial “hate speech” laws.
Prince Harry’s fiancée Meghan Markle made her feelings about the American President clear last year. She posted several disparaging remarks about him during his election campaign. This has added to fears among U.K. Foreign Office officials that a snub from the royal family would further damage relations between Washington and Downing Street, making it difficult for the Prime Minister to engage in post-Brexit trade talks and other dialog with President Trump.
Several British newspapers cite a senior government source as saying “Harry has made it clear he wants the Obamas at the wedding, so it’s causing a lot of nervousness,” he told reporters. “Trump could react very badly if the Obamas get to a Royal wedding before he has had a chance to meet the Queen. Conversations are ongoing about it and ministers will eventually have to decide. If the PM lays down the law, Harry will just have to suck it up,” the official allegedly claimed.
Because Prince Harry and Ms. Merkle’s wedding is not classed as an official state event, the British government can only play an advisory role and the prince is under no obligation to invite heads of state. However, the guest list will be written by the U.K. Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which may decide to invite the U.S. President for diplomatic reasons and out of courtesy.