If you happened to entirely tune out of all the royal wedding hoopla in recent weeks, you’re not alone. Long story short, Prince Harry married Meghan Markle – the American actress famous for her role in the television show Suits. Celebrities attended. Plenty of pomp and circumstance. Yadda, yadda.
A lesser-known fact surrounding royal weddings, though, is that apparently in addition to the numerous gifts they undoubtedly receive, the happy couple selects a handful of charitable organizations in the UK and encourages would-be gift givers to consider making a donation in their name instead of sending an actual gift.
“Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle are incredibly grateful for the goodwill shown to them since the announcement of their engagement and are keen that as many people as possible benefit from this generosity of spirit,” explains the Royals’ official website. “The couple have therefore asked that anyone who might wish to mark the occasion considers making a donation to charity, rather than sending a wedding gift.”
And what does this have to do with surfing? Glad you asked. It turns out Cornwall-based Surfers Against Sewage was inadvertently selected as one of the seven organizations Prince Harry and Meghan decided to throw their family jewels behind. As a result, the organization has seen a major surge in charitable donations and support – something the Guardian deems the “Harry and Meghan effect.”
“Surfers Against Sewage is thrilled to be one of the charities chosen to benefit from donations marking the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle,” said SAS CEO Hugo Tagholm in a note on the Royals’ official website. “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.”
While Prince Harry and William have been known to bodyboard from time to time, the news came as a shock to the team at SAS.
“A complete bolt from the blue,” Hugo Tagholm, SAS CEO, told the Guardian. “The global interest is phenomenal. We have never reached that many people in all of our history, ever.”
SAS was founded in 1990 with a simple mission: put an end to the chronic sewage pollution that was getting surfers and beachgoers sick.
Since, SAS’ objective has evolved – namely, with the global plastic epidemic plaguing our oceans. “Not just surfers – not just sewage,” reads the website.
And while SAS continues to raise awareness globally about key environmental issues impacting the health of the oceans, the organization’s staff of just 19 stands to benefit immensely from the sudden surge in publicity.