As if wedding planning isn’t hard enough.
Britain’s Prince Harry and his American fiancée, the actress Meghan Markle, have told aides they want former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, whom the young couple has grown close to, invited to their May 19 wedding.
But the government of Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly senses a diplomatic scandal in the making, the British newspaper the Sun reported, and would prefer the former U.S. first couple not make a high-profile appearance on British soil before current president Donald Trump — himself presumed absent from the guest list — comes for an official visit.
There are concerns among senior Foreign Office and 10 Downing St. officials that another perceived national snub will make it impossible for Theresa May to meaningfully engage with Trump, the paper reported in what it called a Christmas Day exclusive.
A senior government source reportedly told the Sun: “Harry has made it clear he wants the Obamas at the wedding, so it’s causing a lot of nervousness. Trump could react very badly if the Obamas get to a royal wedding before he has had a chance to meet [Queen Elizabeth],” the paper reported.
“Conversations are ongoing … and ministers will eventually have to decide. If the PM lays down the law, Harry will just have to suck it up,” the official reportedly said, according to the Sun. But other media commentary pointed out that the planning is under the watch of Buckingham Palace rather than the government’s cultural department.
Prince Harry grew closer to the Obamas during their promotion of the royal’s Invictus Games, which is an international adaptive multisport competition for veterans launched a few years ago by the prince, who, once his brother William’s third child is born next year, will be sixth in line to the throne. Harry has served in the British military forces.
In fact, Prince Harry interviewed the former president as part of the royal’s guest editorship on BBC Radio 4’s Today program during the Invictus Games in Toronto in September. That interview will be broadcast on Dec. 27.
Obama tweeted his congratulations to the newly engaged couple last month:
Michelle and I are delighted to congratulate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their engagement. We wish you a lifetime of joy and happiness together.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 27, 2017
Markle had been critical of Trump on social media during his election campaign last year. The former ”Suits” actress joked that she’d move to Canada full time after Trump was elected; she lived in Toronto, in fact, while her series filmed there. Harry reportedly isn’t much of a Trump fan, either, according to British media accounts.
But Trump and May have had their own awkward dance.
In July, Trump reportedly offered an ultimatum to May in a private phone conversation. He would not visit before she could promise a better reception after some 2 million Britons signed a petition to keep him out.
Last month, Trump used social media to promote unverified anti-Muslim videos from the deputy leader of a far-right political group in the U.K., allegedly showing Muslim violence. Trump was criticized by May for retweeting the videos. “The fact that we work together does not mean that we’re afraid to say when we think that the United States have got it wrong,” she said in a public appearance.
May also condemned Trump’s decision to recognize the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move also rebuked by most of the U.N.
Comments on social media suggested the couple should be able to invite whom they want.
This is silly. They should be able to have anybody they want at their wedding. Not everything has to be about Donald Trump. https://t.co/fhpNVroCiM
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) December 26, 2017
Other posters connected, for fun, this would-be drama to the Netflix NFLX, -1.52% historical dramatic series “The Crown,” whose second season began streaming Dec. 8, which looks at the personal and official midcentury lives of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.