Harry and Meghan forced to return $13m worth of wedding gifts

Some companies hoped their gifts would generate free publicity.
Some companies hoped their gifts would generate free publicity. Photo credit: File

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle have been forced to return $13 million worth of wedding gifts as per guidelines that were issued ahead of their wedding on May 19. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were reportedly bombarded with unsolicited wedding gifts from companies and celebrities hoping the couple might give them free publicity, the Daily Mail reported. 

But the couple were unable to accept these gifts, as was instructed by guidelines issued before the wedding that not only prohibited mobile phones, but also gifts. 

"It should be noted that gifts cannot be brought to St George's Chapel or the Reception that follows at Windsor Castle. Guests are advised to seek further guidance on delivery arrangements or any gifts to Kensington Palace," the guidelines said. 

Kensington Palace also released a statement saying when gifts are accepted, "the consent of the Member of the Royal Family should be contingent upon the enterprise undertaking not to exploit the gift for commercial purposes."

A company called Bags of Love is said to have sent the Duchess of Sussex swimwear in the hopes that she might wear them on her honeymoon with Prince Harry, thus promoting the product. 

A panel decided whether the gifts Harry and Meghan received should be donated to charities or returned to the sender, according to the Daily Mail

Instead of receiving gifts, the newlyweds asked their family and friends to donate to seven charities they personally selected. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will reportedly be donating $4758 to Pillars, a charity that supports the families of prisoners, on behalf of New Zealand.