Meghan Markle: Charity kept donation secret until Oprah interview

A charity has said the Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey prompted it to speak out about a £10,000 donation she made.

Meghan Markle gifted the money to Himmah, which works to tackle racism and poverty in Nottingham, in August but the charity kept it a secret.

Director Sajid Mohammad said it was feared the Duchess was “like Marmite” and could damage Himmah’s reputation.

But he added her comments about racism made them want to “show solidarity”.

‘Generous’

The money given to the charity, with funds from The Royal Foundation, has been used to stock the food bank and provide funds for the Salaam Shalom Kitchen – the only joint Muslim and Jewish community kitchen in the UK.

Mr Mohammad said: “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.”

Mr Mohammad said by speaking out about the donation, he wants to make people think “beyond the interview”.

He asked people to remember what the couple did to help charities when they were in England.

“I think that work needs to be recognised,” he said.

Mr Mohammad said he initially thought the donation – made via email – was “an elaborate hoax”.

When he realised it was genuine, he said: “I actually cried”.

He said the trustees and volunteers were “completely moved by the very kind and generous and gracious words of the duchess”.

In the letter, the couple describe Nottingham as being “very close to their heart”.

The couple visited Nottingham in 2017 on their first joint official public engagement.

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