The folks at 10 Downing Street seem to be stressing this holiday season about a certain guest list, and whether former President Barack Obama will be on it. The question of whether the Obamas will be invited to the royal wedding in spring is amounting to a big headache for UK officials, The Sun reports. They seem to be concerned about how President Donald Trump will react if his predecessor gets an invite and he doesn't.
Prince Harry is set to marry American actress Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018, at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. The two have been dating since fall of 2016 after being set up by a mutual friend that summer. While their engagement had long been rumored, news of it became official on Nov. 27 when the British government officially announced it.
But over the pond, the government doesn't seem to be all smiles and cheer about the big day. The guest list has apparently become a point of stress and tension for officials, who are worried not just about whether the Obamas will be getting an invitation, but whether the Trumps will, too.
"Harry has made it clear he wants the Obamas at the wedding, so it’s causing a lot of nervousness," The Sun quoted an unnamed official saying. "Trump could react very badly if the Obamas get to a Royal wedding before he has had a chance to meet the Queen."
It's no secret that there's a special bond between the former first family and the British royal. Prince Harry and Obama have hung out multiple times, including most recently at the Invictus Games on Oct. 2. Upon news of their engagement, Obama wished the two a happy marriage on Twitter.
By contrast, it's been suggested that the British royal isn't too keen on Trump. Us Weekly reported, per sources, that Prince Harry is privately critical of the current president, calling Trump a "serious threat to human rights." Kensington Palace denied that claim, The Independent reports. Markle herself has called Trump misogynistic, and prior to the 2016 election, joked about staying in Canada if he were elected.
The Sun reports that, as the wedding is not an official state event, Buckingham Palace will be spearheading the guest list, and the government's role will be consultative. Even heads of state apparently didn't make the cut.
The guest lists at royal weddings are notoriously selective; the Obamas weren't invited to the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William in 2011, though the reason given was the costs of added security if they were to attend. French President Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni were also not invited, so it's not unusual for foreign dignitaries to be left out. Trump isn't a fan of his predecessor, though, and being notoriously competitive, it's possible he could take what is standard royal wedding protocol and interpret it as a personal attack or favoritism.
Despite the precedent, The Sun's report suggests that the UK is concerned about how Trump will handle the ego blow. The predicament is clear: If palace officials invite Obama without inviting his successor, they risk Trump's anger at a time when they're trying to smooth over tensions.
The relationship between Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May has been up and down. After she was the first foreign official Trump hosted after his inauguration, she reciprocated with an invite for him to visit. But tensions rose after blowback for his tweets following a terrorist incident in London in June, and the visit was postponed. In November, UK officials apparently postponed his scheduled trip following another slew of controversial tweets by Trump, which May criticized him over. Even that trip, which was slated for January 2018, wouldn't have been a formal one, and wouldn't have included a meeting with the Queen.
Last week, first daughter Ivanka Trump shared her well-wishes to the happy couple on Twitter, and many labeled her messages as an attempt to get on their good side and secure and RSVP. (Reports in recent days have claimed that the Obamas were removed from the guest list, and Snopes called out the falsehood, as the guest list hasn't been released yet.)
Whether the Obamas — or the Trumps — will receive invites in the end is unclear. "Conversations are ongoing about and ministers will eventually have to decide," the source told The Sun. "If the PM lays down the law, Harry will just have to suck it up."