This Is Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Had to Return Most of Their Wedding Gifts

Those gifts were worth a TON of money.

You were probably taught that no matter how much you hate a gift, you should always accept it with a big smile. While that’s good advice for most people, royals are not most people.

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding date was announced, it’s no surprise that the public sent loads of gifts to congratulate the happy couple. Before the big day, an official statement told guests to send gifts to Kensington Palace rather than bringing them to the ceremony or reception at Windsor Castle. But there was one another catch: “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,” Kensington Palace said, according to the Daily Express. In plain English, the newlyweds wouldn’t be allowed to accept gifts if the items were meant as walking advertisements. For instance, if a hat company sent the couple caps, and photos of Meghan and Harry wearing those hats drove business, that’d be a no-no.

Royals can’t accept certain gifts

Despite the heads up about the rules, it seems a few people decided to ignore the request and send some generous gifts anyway. Harry and Meghan reportedly sent an estimated £7 million ($9.3 million) worth of presents back to the senders. No word on whether any were as bizarre as the 12 weirdest gifts the royal family has ever received.

Not that accepting wedding presents are all that different from the typical royal protocol for accepting gifts. The royal gift policy states year-round that the family can’t accept gifts from anyone hoping to “exploit the gift for commercial purposes.” In fact, they can only accept gifts that are consumable like flowers and food or that are worth less than £150 ($200).

But there are other ways to congratulate royal newlyweds

To those who still wanted to support the couple, there was one surefire way to make sure your gift was accepted. Harry and Meghan chose a handful of charities and requested donations be sent there in lieu of wedding gifts. Some of the charities included Children’s HIV Association, Crisis (support for homeless people), Myna Mahila Foundation (women’s empowerment in Mumbai), Scotty’s Little Soldiers (support for children who lost a parent in the British Armed Forces), StreetGames (health empowerment for disadvantaged communities), Surfers Against Sewage (marine conservation), and The Wilderness Foundation UK. Next, learn about 17 tiny details you probably missed at the royal wedding.

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.