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Obama won't be going to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding

  • Couple decided not to invite any political leaders both from the UK and abroad, which means that even British Prime Minister Theresa May isn't on the list
  • As Harry's not a direct heir to throne there's no need to have  a formal guest list
  • Kensington Palace said: 'The Government was consulted on this decision'

By Rebecca English, Royal Correspondent for the Daily Mail

Published: 09:09 EDT, 10 April 2018 | Updated: 20:14 EDT, 10 April 2018

Theresa May and other political leaders – including US President Donald Trump – have been left off the guest list for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

In a surprise move, there are no invitations for the Prime Minister, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn or any foreign heads of state.

The omission of Commonwealth leaders is particularly surprising as they may see it as a snub.

Prince Harry watches the Wheelchair Basketball finals with Barack Obama at the Invictus Games 2017 at Toronto Pan Am Centre last September
Prince Harry watches the Wheelchair Basketball finals with Barack Obama at the Invictus Games 2017 at Toronto Pan Am Centre last September

Prince Harry watches the Wheelchair Basketball finals with Barack Obama at the Invictus Games 2017 at Toronto Pan Am Centre last September

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, will not be guests at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding next month - and nor will President Donald Trump
President Obama and his wife, Michelle, will not be guests at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding next month - and nor will President Donald Trump

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, will not be guests at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding next month - and nor will President Donald Trump

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, both friends of Harry, have also failed to make the cut, sources confirmed last night.

The situation has left royal watchers wondering whether the Obamas, who are close to the prince, may have done the ‘decent thing’ and stepped aside so as not to ruffle the feathers of Mr Trump.

Kensington Palace confirmed yesterday that the 600 guests invited to watch the couple exchange vows on May 19 at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle would all be those with a direct relationship with Meghan and Harry.

Prince Harry interviews former US President Barack Obama as part of his guest editorship of BBC Radio 4's Today programme in December
Prince Harry interviews former US President Barack Obama as part of his guest editorship of BBC Radio 4's Today programme in December

Prince Harry interviews former US President Barack Obama as part of his guest editorship of BBC Radio 4's Today programme in December

‘This is very much about them getting married surrounded by their families and friends,’ a source said.

‘It is not a big state occasion in any way. It is an intimate family wedding. Well, as intimate as a royal wedding can be.’

The prince’s spokesman said the Queen backed her grandson’s decision not to invite politicians or foreign dignitaries for the sake of it.

The couple have decided not to invite any political leaders both from the UK and abroad, which means that even British Prime Minister Theresa May isn't on the list. Pictured is Prince Harry and Barack Obama at the Invictus Games in Canada last year
The couple have decided not to invite any political leaders both from the UK and abroad, which means that even British Prime Minister Theresa May isn't on the list. Pictured is Prince Harry and Barack Obama at the Invictus Games in Canada last year

The couple have decided not to invite any political leaders both from the UK and abroad, which means that even British Prime Minister Theresa May isn't on the list. Pictured is Prince Harry and Barack Obama at the Invictus Games in Canada last year

Kensington Palace said: ‘It has been decided that an official list of political leaders – both UK and international – is not required for Prince Harry and Miss Markle’s wedding. Her Majesty’s Government was consulted on this decision, which was taken by The Royal Household.’ Government sources said Theresa May ‘wasn’t expecting an invitation’.

Despite the wedding being an important national occasion, Harry is not in the direct line of succession – unlike his elder brother, Prince William, who had no choice but to invite dozens of politicians and Commonwealth representatives to his 2011 Westminster Abbey nuptials.

Harry is currently fifth in line to the throne, but after the birth of his third niece or nephew later this month, will slip to sixth, behind the Cambridges’ three children.

Prince Harry and Miss Markle have also chosen a much smaller venue than William and Kate, who were able to fit around 1,200 guests into Westminster Abbey, including then-Prime Minister David Cameron.

Prince Harry (left) shakes hands with then-US President Barack Obama during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 28, 2015
Prince Harry (left) shakes hands with then-US President Barack Obama during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 28, 2015

Prince Harry (left) shakes hands with then-US President Barack Obama during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, October 28, 2015

Prince Harry with the First Lady Michelle Obama during a visit to the White House in 2013
Prince Harry with the First Lady Michelle Obama during a visit to the White House in 2013

Prince Harry with the First Lady Michelle Obama during a visit to the White House in 2013

Then-First Lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by Jill Biden, left, reacts as Britain's Prince Harry hands her the basketball at the Invictus Games in Orlando in 2016
Then-First Lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by Jill Biden, left, reacts as Britain's Prince Harry hands her the basketball at the Invictus Games in Orlando in 2016

Then-First Lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by Jill Biden, left, reacts as Britain's Prince Harry hands her the basketball at the Invictus Games in Orlando in 2016

By contrast, up to a third of the 600 invited to St George’s Chapel would have been politicians and dignitaries if the guest list had been opened up to those outside of their family and friends.

The last ‘second son’ to marry was Prince Andrew, who wed Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey in 1986. On that occasion, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, as well as the leaders of the opposition, Neil Kinnock, David Steel and David Owen, were invited. But the ceremony was held at a was a bigger venue and Andrew was fourth in line to the throne.

Instead, Prince Harry and Meghan appear to be basing their wedding blueprint on Prince Edward’s marriage to Sophie Rhys-Jones.

In 1999, the couple broke with royal tradition when they plumped for the same venue, St George’s Chapel. All of the prince’s elder siblings married at either St James’ or Westminster Abbey.

From the start, Edward, then seventh in line to the throne, and Sophie emphasised their desire for a low-key royal wedding, with no prime minister or foreign dignitaries.

Harry's special relationship with Barack and Michelle Obama

Obama enjoyed a hugely successful state visit to the UK in 2011, when he and his family stayed with the Queen. 

Harry then struck up a rapport with Michelle Obama who he teamed up with on a number of initiatives, including offering his support to her campaigns for girls' education and better support for military families. 

But he didn't meet her husband until October 2015 when the royal visited the White House for a meeting to promote the Invictus Games. 

At the time, Obama warmly welcomed the prince, saying: 'I've had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with so many of his family members, but this is the first time that we had a chance to talk directly.

Harry and Obama met for the first time during an interview at the Oval Office in October 2015 to promote the Invictus Games in Florida
Harry and Obama met for the first time during an interview at the Oval Office in October 2015 to promote the Invictus Games in Florida

Harry and Obama met for the first time during an interview at the Oval Office in October 2015 to promote the Invictus Games in Florida

'He has gotten to know Michelle very well, for a range of reasons, but in particular, he's here to talk about the Invictus Games, an initiative that is bringing together wounded warriors around the world, under the leadership of Prince Harry and others, to make sure that we see not simply the sacrifices they've made, but also the incredible contributions, strength and courage they continue to display.'

'And so we are very glad to support the Invictus Games. Michelle and myself are interested in promoting it.'

When the Invictus Games was held in Florida last year the two men struck up a hilarious viral rivalry to publicise the competition, Harry playing the trump card by invoking his grandmother, the Queen to appear in a short 'skit' with him.

There was another opportunity to catch up in April last year when Barack and Michelle joined William, Kate and Harry at Kensington Palace, where they met Prince George. 

The pair also attended this year's Invictus Games in Toronto this year, and were seen laughing together as they cheered on the athletes at the wheelchair basketball event.

An onlooker even reported hearing the former president asking Harry about Meghan Markle and whether she was enjoying the games. 

The royal was one of the many high-profile guests at the former U.S. president's first Obama Foundation Summit in October.

The 33-year-old was photographed sitting in the audience at the two-day event held at the Marriott Marquis McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois one row behind Obama and his wife, former First Lady Michelle Obama.     

Prince Harry with the Obamas ahead of a dinner hosted by William and Kate at Kensington Palace in April 2016
Prince Harry with the Obamas ahead of a dinner hosted by William and Kate at Kensington Palace in April 2016

Prince Harry with the Obamas ahead of a dinner hosted by William and Kate at Kensington Palace in April 2016

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