Prince William and Kate Middleton have set up a charity gift fund so those who wish to give them a wedding present can donate to charities they support.
The couple, who were rumored to be considering such an idea since at least January, have established a Web site, www.royalweddingcharityfund.org, for the Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund. (The Associated Press noted today that this makes them the first British royal couple to request charitable gifts instead of wedding presents.)
The site, announced by St. James Palace Wednesday, groups the more than two dozen charities selected by William and Kate into five topics: changing lives through arts and sport, children fulfilling their potential, help and care at home, support for service personnel and their families, and conservation for future generations.
Among the 26 organizations selected by William and Kate is the Northern Ireland branch of PeacePlayers International, a Washington-based charity founded in 2001. The couple met with representatives of the group during their recent visit to Belfast. PeacePlayers focuses on sports such as basketball to bring children together, under the thinking that those “who play together can learn to live together.”
A press release from the organization on Wednesday noted that “In Northern Ireland, where the group works with young people between the ages of 8 and 25 in Protestant and Catholic communities, the programme has reached over 10,000 since its founding in 2002. PPI – NI challenges sectarianism and promotes mutual respect by offering young people in disadvantaged . . . neighborhoods a range of integrated sports activities, peace education and leadership development opportunities, and a chance to forge new friendships that transcend the region’s historical divide.”
“Having been touched by the goodwill shown them since the announcement of their engagement,” the palace said in a statement, “Prince William and Miss Middleton have asked that anyone who might wish to give them a wedding gift consider giving instead to a charitable fund.”
The charities — which also include organizations based in Australia, Canada and New Zealand — “have a particular resonance” with the couple based on their interests and experiences, the palace statement said. The groups , though, have no previous formal relationship with the prince or his fiancee.
Donations can be made online in six currencies (including dollars), as well as by phone or check (click here for details). All donors are to receive a thank-you e-mail from the couple.
The donations will go into an account with the foundation established previously by William and his brother, Prince Harry.
Previous royal couples, such as William’s parents, Charles and Diana, and his grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, have received a broad array of wedding gifts from governments, diplomats, citizens and corporations around the world. The items — including jewelry, furniture and appliances, dishware, artwork, and more — have traditionally been displayed to the public.