British charity kept Meghan Markle’s £10,000 donation secret over fears she could damage reputation
A British charity said it kept a £10,000 donation from Meghan Markle a secret because she’s ‘like Marmite’ – but were prompted to speak out following her explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In August, the Duchess of Sussex, 39, now based in the US, gifted funds from The Royal Foundation to Nottingham charity Himmah – a community project tackling poverty, racism and social exclusion.
Director Sajid Mohammad told the BBC a decision was made not to speak publicly about the donation because it was feared it could damage Himmah’s reputation.
However after Prince Harry, 36, and Meghan’s bombshell tell-all with Oprah Winfrey, in which they made accusations of racism within the Royal Family, the charity felt they ‘needed to show solidarity’ with the duchess.
A British charity said it kept a £10,000 donation from Meghan Markle a secret because she’s ‘like Marmite’. Pictured, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Nottingham, 2017
He admitted: ‘The reason we didn’t go public is the trustees took a view that she was like Marmite and there could be reputational issues – people not liking our charity because they don’t like her – so we decided to keep the donation secret.
‘After the interview we realised we’re a poverty and race organisation [and] that we needed to show solidarity.’
The community project, based in Gamble Street, provides more than 650 emergency food parcels every month to people across the city, as well as serving more than 60 hot meals every week.
During their interview this month, Prince Harry and Meghan said racism drove them out of Britain and claimed their son Archie was denied the title of prince because he is mixed-race.
However the charity were prompted to speak out to ‘show solidarity’ following Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey
The couple accused an unnamed royal, not the Queen or Prince Philip, of raising ‘concerns’ about ‘how dark’ their son Archie’s skin tone would be before he was born.
Meghan also described her ‘pain’ that officials had denied Archie the title of prince, accusing Buckingham Palace of failing to protect him by denying him 24/7 security.
The charity said the money from Meghan’s foundation has been put towards stocking the food bank, purchasing equipment and providing vital funds for the Salaam Shalom Kitchen – the only joint Muslim and Jewish community kitchen in the UK.
Reacting to the donation, Himmah’s director joked: ‘For ages I thought the whole thing was a hoax.
‘They kept emailing me and ringing me about the donation saying it was from the Duchess of Sussex and I just couldn’t believe it – I was utterly gobsmacked and hugely humbled that Meghan knew about our charity and wanted to support us.
The donation came from funds raised for The Royal Foundation from the sale of Together: Our Community Cookbook. Pictured, Meghan at the Hubb Community Kitchen in London
‘It’s an absolutely incredible sum and we’re so very grateful.’
Karen Worth, co-chair and trustee Salaam Shalom Kitchen, said: ‘We are so delighted and pleased that Salaam Shalom Kitchen has been noticed and chosen by the Duchess of Sussex.
‘The money given to us by her foundation will help to continue our important work in Hyson Green area of Nottingham, which is one the most deprived areas of the city.’
The donation came from funds raised for The Royal Foundation from the sale of Together: Our Community Cookbook and the duchess gifted the money so the charity can ‘continue transforming lives through the power of cooking and food’.
Ms Worth continued: ‘Post initial Covid lockdown period we have managed to re-open since start of August.
The community project, based in Gamble Street, provides more than 650 emergency food parcels every month to people across the city
‘Even though our usual venue The Bridge centre remains closed, we are committed to continuing to assist those experiencing food poverty, for whatever reason.
‘Every Wednesday, we are outside The Bridge centre, whatever the weather, giving out a hot meal, supermarket donations and a friendly hello to anyone who needs this.
‘Initially we were giving out 60 meals each week, this has now increased to 90+ each week.’
Reflecting on the past year for the charity, Mr Mohammed said: ‘This year has been incredibly tough for a lot of people, we’ve seen a huge increase in uptake for our services since the start of the pandemic.’