Cathal McNaughton / Reuters
Britain’s Prince William and his fiancee, Kate Middleton, leave after their visit to City Hall in Belfast
Elspeth Lodge Mar 18, 2011 – 9:52 AM ET | Last Updated: Mar 18, 2011 3:48 PM ET
As the royal wedding approaches, guests have been mulling the problem of nuptial presents. But Prince William and Kate Middleton are making the choice a little easier, asking that guests consider forgoing a gift in favour of a donation to one of 26 charities.
The charities are mostly small and local; many are based in countries Britain has ties with, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand (where the prince arrived Thursday). In Canada, donations will support The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.
“These causes are close to their hearts and reflect the experiences, passions and values of their lives so far,” said the fund’s website, www.royalweddingcharityfund.org. Having been touched by the goodwill shown to them since their engagement, they have asked that anyone wishing to send them a wedding gift consider doing so in the form of a donation to the fund.”
According to the Telegraph, the charities split into five categories: children, arts and sport, conservation, service personnel and help and care at home.
The prince arrived in New Zealand Thursday morning, one of the countries he will support organizations in through gift funds from his wedding.
He toured the central area of the city, which is still closed to all but rescue workers, to see at first hand the impact of the magnitude 6.3 quake which struck on Feb 22, killing at least 166 people.
Later in the day he will hop on a plane to the small town of Greymouth, which is around 250 kilometres west of Christchurch, to meet families of the 29 miners killed in the Pike River coal mine explosion last November.
He will attend a memorial service for victims of the earthquake in Christchurch on Friday, before he leaves on Saturday for Australia where he will tour flood-damaged areas in Queensland.
With Files From Thomson Reuters
Elspeth Lodge February 14, 2011 – 5:30 pm
South African tradition dictates a groom give his fiance’s family symbolic payment for her hand in marriage. This payment is called the bride’s labola, and traditionally, the payment comes in cows.
A South African discount airline, Kulula, is offering to pay Kate Middleton a labola. If the Middleton family accepts, the corporation will deliver cows to Buckingham Palace, reports Times Live. There is one catch— fans will decide via Facebook how many cows the royal bride is worth.
Reuters / Michael Dunlea / Pool
Britain’s Prince William smiles as he walks with his girlfriend Kate Middleton at RAF Cranwell, central England on April 11, 2008
“The tradition is designed to bring the families of the couple together, encourage mutual respect, and ensure that the man is capable of supporting his wife financially and emotionally,” said a Kulula spokesperson on their Facebook page.
“Wills might have forgotten to do the right thing. So, in the spirit of über-ubuntu, we’re paying Kate’s labola. You are going to have to play the canny negotiator and help us to work out how many cows he should present to Kate’s family. Be calm and fair, think carefully and weigh up all the various attributes of the bride in your head. Then cast your vote and do your country (and Wills) proud.”
The average February vote is that Ms. Middleton is worth 30 fine cows and voting will continue till the day before the wedding.
The airline serves various destinations in sub-Saharan Africa and every flight booked from February 14 until the day before the wedding will go towards paying for the labola.
According to Times Live, the airline will source the cows in the U.K. so the animals won’t have to suffer through sea transport.