Belfast Telegraph

Calling for any kind of wedding gift from the public is a bit rich when you're in one of the most privileged couples around

By Lindy McDowell

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have released their wedding gift list. And you'll be pleased to learn that they aren't asking for toasters, Nutribullets or luxury private yachts.

They just want the money.

Okay, let me rephrase that in a more explicit and fair way. They would prefer that, instead of sending them unsolicited gifts, members of the public who want to mark their nuptials with some sort of present should instead make a donation to one of their nominated charities.

They have produced a list of six groups they'd like to see benefit, all of them deserving and worthy causes.

Part of me thinks, 'Good for them'. The charities will benefit. People will feel good about giving. And Harry and Meghan will get the credit for the sum raised. Everybody's happy.

But another part of me thinks there's something just a tad presumptuous about one of the richest and most privileged couples in the land calling for any kind of wedding gift, even one that benefits their favourite charities.

Couldn't they instead issue a notice to the effect that they have just about everything in the world a prince and his missus could possibly need and that all they want are people's good wishes?

But that if well-wishers really do feel compelled to give something to mark the occasion, they should donate to a charity of their own choosing?

The whole question of appealing for funds on the occasion of one's marriage was highlighted in a very different way this week when a couple at the other end of the social scale had to abandon a crowdfunding plea for cash to pay for a second honeymoon.

English couple Sarah and Sam Davey set up the appeal claiming that their first post-wedding break (which had been paid for by relatives) had been a total disaster.

They allege they were bitten by bedbugs and had to cut short their stay.

The hotel owners, however, counter that they regularly check their premises for critters, that they have had no complaints from other guests and that actually the couple were "rude and disrespectful" to staff.

The newlyweds have since been given a refund by the hotel, although they claim £100 of this was returned to them in one pound coins.

It was following on from this fallout that the couple then turned to a crowdfunding site, appealing for money to cover a second honeymoon.

What they got instead was £65 and a barrel load of criticism.

How deserving the couple are, I have no idea - although, plucking at the heartstrings, they do claim that the husband has been seriously ill.

The thing is, nobody was actually forcing anyone to give them money through the crowdfunding effort. It was up to individual choice.

Nonetheless they have been slated on the site for asking for alms. 'Begging' is one word used...

The idea of giving wedding presents is as old as time and originally was aimed at helping the happy couple kit out their new shared home.

These days when people marry, it's often long after they've already acquired all the household appliances their hearts desire, which makes the present-buying a bit trickier.

Some traditionalists deride the wedding gift list because they feel it's a bit blunt and acquisitive.

I have no problem with the wedding gift list. At least it provides some pointer to the dithering guest as to what to buy.

But coming back to Harry and Meghan, I do think there's a wealth bracket where you rise above all that.

Nominating your own charities is still a bit self-serving - if it's all just about making you look good.

A royal wedding where the public were being asked NOT to put their hands in their pockets?

Now that would be a gift to the nation.

Belfast Telegraph

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