The reason Meghan and Harry want us to donate to these 7 charities

Ahead of the royal wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have eschewed traditional gifts in order to help their favourite charities. 

Forget ostentatious gifts, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are requesting that their wedding guests donate to charity to celebrate their May 19 nuptials. 

The couple personally selected seven organisations close to their hearts, with a particular interest in addressing women's empowerment, homelessness, HIV, and the armed forces.

"Many of these are small charities, and the couple are pleased to be able to amplify and shine a light on their work," the statement confirmed a statement from Kensington Palace said about the Meghan and Harry’s decision to eschew gifts for a far more heart-warming gift.

Here's everything you need to know about the seven lucky charities:

Children’s HIV Association

Harry’s mother Princess Diana was instrumental in fighting the stigma of HIV and AIDS, so the Children's HIV Association (CHIVA) is a touching personal inclusion.

The charity helps support children growing up with HIV through organised activities and professional, financial and peer support.

The Chair of CHIVA, Dr Amanda Williams, said they were honoured to be recognised by the young royals. 

"We are a very small charity and through our work we support over 1,000 young people living with HIV," Dr Williams said in a statement. "All donations will make a significant difference to our programmes of work and lead to direct improvements in the lives of these young people."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on World AIDS Day (Getty)

Crisis UK

Crisis UK supports homeless people around Britain, connecting them with support and employment, raising awareness and finding permanent homes.

Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding caused controversy earlier this year, when the local council requested police remove rough sleeping communities from the streets Windsor ahead of the wedding. However, the royal family has long been committed to tackling homelessness, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have already expressed their commitment to the cause, particularly during a recent visit to Edinburgh in February, where they dropped in to a cafe offering employment and food for the city's homeless.

Harry and Meghan visit Social Bite cafe (Getty)

Myna Mahila Foundation

This one is close to the heart of Ms Markle, who, according to Kensington Palace visited the India-based charity last year. The Myna Mahila Foundation aims to break taboos surrounding menstruation in India, which remains tragically stigmatised for young women in many developing nations, often preventing them from pursuing their education due to the shame associated with and lack of sanitation offered to girls who have their period.

In an article penned for TIME, Meghan encouraged others to help break this cycle that stops young women from receiving an education.

"To break the cycle of poverty, and to achieve economic growth and sustainability in developing countries, young women need access to education," she wrote. "When we empower girls hungry for education, we cultivate women who are emboldened to effect change within their communities and globally. If that is our dream for them, then the promise of it must begin with us."

 

Scotty’s Little Soldiers

This charity supports children and young people who have lost a parent during active service by offering holidays, fun activities and events, educational assistance and counselling. According to its website, Scotty's Little Soldiers charity currently assists hundreds of bereaved families across the UK.

The young royals have long been passionate about supporting returned servicemen and women, particularly Prince Harry who famously founded the Invictus Games – which Meghan will attend in Sydney later this year as her first international engagement after the wedding – for wounded, injured or sick veterans. 

 

StreetGames

This charity hosts sports programs to help change the lives of children in disadvantaged areas of the UK. It's also one of the few charities Meghan and Harry have visited as a couple, attending an event in Cardiff earlier this year. Prince Harry also has a history of working with the charity on its Fit and Fed campaign to reduce hunger, isolation and inactivity during school holidays.

 

Surfers Against Sewage 

Surfers Against Sewage is a marine conservation charity focused on reducing plastic waste, improving water quality and cleaning up Britain's beaches. 

While neither the Prince nor Meghan has a relationship with the charity, Cornwall Live reports Harry and his brother, Prince William, have been known to hit the local surf from time to time.

According to a statement from Chief Executive Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage will dedicate the donations to its plastic-free initiatives:

"Our work as a national marine conservation charity empowers tens of thousands of volunteers annually to protect beaches for everyone. We are currently focused on tackling plastic pollution and this support will help us move towards our vision of Plastic Free Coastlines."

The Wilderness Foundation UK

This charity is all about "wilderness therapy" - reconnecting kids with nature in order to achieve "personal transformation and growth".

The Wilderness Foundation organises hikes and other outdoor experiences for vulnerable young people in order to foster a sense of community and encourage future generations to protect and care for the environment. 

Harry has worked with the charity in the past, attending outdoor adventures with the organisation.

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